Well, the election is finally over. Thankfully, Mrs. Clinton conceded gracefully, and we aren’t waiting on counties in south Florida to determine voters’ intent over hanging chads. The democratic process worked for us one more time. There have been protests that are protected by our 1st amendment rights of speech and assembly, but we haven’t had to deal with bloody coups or military uprisings like we saw in Libya at the end of Gadaffi’s rule or in Egypt during the Arab Spring. We’re still living safely in our homes just like we were before, and we freely cast our ballots Tuesday without fear or duress if we didn’t cast our ballot for the dictator running the show. There was reasonable assurance that our vote would be counted just as we cast it and not thrown away to be replaced by a ballot with someone else’s choices marked instead.
We know who our President will be for the next four years. Mr. Trump’s victory was a major victory for some and a crushing defeat for others; just as President Obama’s victories were in the previous two elections. I have my hopes and disappointments regarding the next 4 years, and I’ll use my energy to try to make the America around me into something I can be proud of. One of my goals in that is to try to find some way to heal the festering wound that has formed on the brotherhood and sisterhood we share as Americans. The toxic, hateful vitriol vomited onto each and every one of us has to end. We have to figure out how to live with each other and, if not embrace, tolerate our cultural, racial, religious, fiscal, and sexual orientational differences. We will forever have our differences, and with the crumbling barriers to global transportation, communication, and business, the alloy in our melting pot will only become more diverse.
The current attitude of mistrust, fear, exclusion, and backlash will not keep our country strong but tear it to shreds. The cycle of retaliation for perceived sleights occurring during an opponent’s time in office cannot continue, for it only increases in severity for each iteration. Our reactions toward our opponents must be measured with restraint. That was the basis of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message even in midst of the violence heaped upon him during the civil rights struggle of the 1960’s.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ~ The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, … Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
We all have to work to break the cycle before we completely remove the all-important U from our national acronym. We must remain united, or we will surely fail, and our country of hope and opportunity will become nothing more than a failed attempt at an experiment in democracy.
It’s time to sit down at my grandma’s big, round kitchen table set with fried catfish, curry goat, tamales, empanadas, sushi, borscht, whatever horrible tasting crap they serve in England, phat thai, pho, kangaroo burgers, spaghetti, and a big pitcher of syrupy, sweet iced tea. Let’s break bread with folks we don’t look, talk, or think like and learn about them. We have to start looking at them as individuals and not just as a member of a stereotype. After all, it’s easier to care about someone you know than someone that’s just another white, black, brown, or tan face you pass without noticing in your daily routine.
I always appreciate your writing and your ideas, Robbie. I agree with the sentiment here but there’s a big question that looms over this: Does this mean our friends who have been called rapists and terrorists by the future president simply because of their heritage now need to join in some effort at mutual understanding? That seems like a big ask.
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I fully acknowledge that when folks come to the table, they’re bringing their hurt and resentment with them, and when they leave the table they will probably carry those hurts and resentments away with them still. But, we have to start somewhere, and hopefully after enough interaction, enough understanding, enough apology, and enough times at the table, maybe the wounds begin to heal.