We The People

I was too nervous to watch the election coverage last night. I turned my phone to silent, put on my coziest pajamas, and went to sleep. I woke once or twice, and fought the urge to check on the progress. What would be would be, and I somehow felt that my faith in the good, paired with my refusal to look at results would protect us all. I was so wrong.

I wept this morning when I saw what had happened while I slept. Sobbed, actually, unable to make sense of what I was seeing. Today is my youngest child’s 3rd birthday, and I am terrified of the country he will wake up to.

But that’s the trick, isn’t it?  To not see this as a reflection on our country, on the people we will walk past and talk with today? The trick is to see this as the delusion of the group who was somehow able to turn out in larger, louder numbers. To remember that the most publicized voices are rarely the ones we should be listening to.

We are a good people, we are a loving people. Look at the ways our country has changed and grown in the past few years. Look at the people in our lives – friends, coworkers, family members – who now have rights and protections they were denied for so long. I have to believe in my heart that the love and courage of the many can still drown out the hatred and fear of the few. And I have to believe in my heart that this is still the truth: there are more of us than there are of them. We are stronger. We love harder. Our faith in the good cannot be shaken even in the face of darkest evil

I’m thinking this morning of all the photos I’ve seen in my life of dangerous places, war torn nations, ghettos where children still played in the streets, friends still sat with heads tipped together and spoke of big, impossible dreams. We have been fortunate in recent history to live in a country where our leaders, for the most part, tried to keep us together and safe and happy. There are countless people in countless places who have never felt those things, but who work towards happiness anyway.

That is what I have to do, what we all have to do in this terrifying time. Work towards happiness anyway. Love one another anyway. Fight for what is good and right anyway. The test of a person, a family, a people is not what we do when the road is smoothly paved for us, but what we do when everything around us has crumbled. We show our true colors and make whatever God we believe in so very proud when, in moments like this, we stand together and refuse to let fear destroy us.

Please, do not let fear destroy you today. Cry your tears, wrap up your tender little hearts, and go out into this beautiful world. Smile at strangers. Over-tip the person who makes your coffee. Call your mom or your dad or your sister or your friend from second grade and tell them how very very very much you adore them. Hold the door for the person behind you, even if you think they might be one of them.  Especially if you think they might be one of them. Because that’s what he wants, isn’t it? To scare us, to divide us, to build a freaking wall between us. No. Not today, not in my life, not in my country. I will not let the hatred of some dampen the love of many. I will not let fear crush my sense of community with every single person around me.

Today is not about that one man. He is not us and we are not him. Today is about you and me and all of us, rising together to show the world what we are truly made of. We are made of love. We are made of courage. We are made of strength. And nothing can tear that away from us.