Loving the America that Elected Donald Trump

 

A Donald Trump presidency with a Republican-controlled House and Senate. We were told it couldn’t happen. We were sure it wouldn’t end like this. And when we were wrong, I watched my friends, many of them first-time voters in a presidential election, fall apart. So many people are hopeless and angry this morning. So many people feel defeated and abandoned. I encourage you to get the support you need to get past these emotions, to live again.

For me, this morning is about love. I have never felt so called upon to do anything as I feel called to love my community, my friends and family, and my country today.

To clarify, I do not mean we should pretend everything is fine. I do not mean that fear is invalid. Fear is very real for any and all marginalized U.S. populations. I am afraid. I am a queer woman. I come from Jewish and Latinx families. I am an outspoken political activist. I am terrified about the implications of this election for global climate change policy and the future of our planet. But I cannot find it in my heart today to do anything but love.

I refuse to hate the people who voted for third party candidates. I refuse to hate the people who voted for Donald Trump. I refuse to hate the United States of America.

Any kind of democratic system is a risk, and ours has been stretched to the point where a lot of people no longer believe in it. I don’t think I believe in it anymore, either, at least not with current campaign financing, advertising, and special interest hullabaloo. I lost a lot of faith in the current system of government last night. I have not lost faith in my community.

As a climate action and social justice organizer, I believe in the power of non-governmental systems. I have cultivated a lot of relationships with people dedicated to making the world a better place. All of us know what it is like to work each day against a powerful status quo of callous indifference. Last night was still a blow unlike any in my (admittedly short) lifetime. Many of my friends have stepped back for the moment to focus on self-care. I am privileged enough to feel safe speaking up today. I feel strong enough to offer myself as emotional support to members of my networks, and to anyone who needs kind words or a listening ear.

I believe that the most powerful movements for social change come from a place of love. Hillary Clinton ran on a platform of not-Trump, not-hate, but that was not enough. Picking up the pieces and rising up better next time will mean really and truly loving each other and, as marginalized people have always done, loving the country that doesn’t love you back. I love this country too much to give up on it, to stop working to make it more livable, more beautiful, more whole.

I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know what to do about people whose lives are in real danger in this America. I don’t have a roadmap for moving from devastation to love. Mostly, I want everyone to know that people like me exist. There are people who can support you if you feel like you are drowning. There are people who are energized and ready to fight back. I don’t know exactly where I will direct this energy yet, but I have it. And when I fight, I will do it with love.

Written for Daily Kos by 350 VT intern Julie Elfin (http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/11/9/1594534/-Loving-the-America-that-Elected-Donald-Trump?_=2016-11-09T08:28:04.265-08:00)