April 20, 2024

The evening of Tuesday, Nov. 8, was a game-changer in the history of our nation. In a shockingly close race, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton and was chosen by the American people as president-elect of the United States of America.

To say the nation — the world — was stunned and upset would be an understatement. It would be more accurate to use the words “crushed” or “destroyed.”

The night of the election, I turned off my TV. I refused to check in on Facebook, Twitter or any kind of social media. I knew what I was going to see. Democrat vs. Republican, liberal vs. conservative, anarchists alike bashing each other for putting America in the situation it is in now.

“Those of you who voted for Trump, thanks for putting us back in the 1950s.” “How will I explain this to my children?” “I will be unfriending anybody who didn’t make the right choice tonight.”

People of America, your hurt is being heard globally. You are not alone. For those who are pleased with Trump’s win, revel in all of its glory the next four to eight years. For those who are devastated, know that this is not the end of our country as we know it.

Presidents do not make policy. But the number of Republicans or Democrats in office do not determine what the social or economic status of our country is.

We do.

We are a democracy. We are a republic. We have voices, and we have the ability to make them heard, which is why in these sobering times, we need to take a step back and reflect on what we can do.

We cannot choose a new president. We cannot choose a new Congress. The votes have been cast. The deal has been done.

What we can do, however, is stop pointing fingers at one another for getting us into the “crisis” we are now in. We can bond together as a nation and remember that if we are in a situation that does not protect the security and the rights that are owed to us as citizens of the great earth on which we live, then we have the opportunity to reverse it.

People of America, we need to step up and actually make the differences we say need to happen. We cannot rely on a president or a representative to do it for us. We have to take action.

My heart breaks for the depression that has spread across the nation the past few days. I hurt to see my friends hurt by others who can do nothing but blame, when in reality the only thing that will heal this hurt is love.

The only bit of social media that I have taken to heart these past few days comes from an Instagram post by actress Sophia Bush. Her vote was for Clinton, but her words are for all.

“I still believe in us,” she said. “I do. If anything this should motivate us. This should wake us up. We’ve clearly been complacent. We haven’t sought out one another and had the tough conversations and really listened to each other. … Instead of giving in to the fear and reacting with savage hearts, let’s come together now. Have conversations with people who believe in different things than you do. And instead of needing to be right, try to hear them. Then ask for the same respect in return. Build bridges, not walls. Let’s sew the broken pieces of ourselves back together again, and remake the fabric of America. We can.”

As a citizen who loves her country and hates to see it hurt, I want people to start building those bridges.

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