We have lost. We have mourned. We have gathered together through long nights and longer days to discuss what this means for us, how this could have happened.
After the results of the 2016 presidential election, the nation has been in disarray. Protests, rioting and acts of violence toward people of color, Muslims, women, LGBT people have been frequent occurrences over the past week.
We have gone through the stages of grief. Denial as the polls came in and Donald Trump was announced to be the president elect. Anger as we realized that the world was not what we thought it was. Bargaining, as we tried to figure out how to turn back time, recount the vote and change what is already the past. Depression as we wept with one another for the fear that we may now live in a world in which everything that Trump has said and done is acceptable and may be said and done by others to others without reproach.
Out of the five stages of grief, only one is left: acceptance. Let me be clear, this does not mean that we accept Trump’s actions or rhetoric as being OK. This is not an endorsement of his election or a shrug of the shoulders. This does not mean that you are not allowed to return to the other stages at any point. Your feelings are valid and true and deserve to be heard.
What acceptance means is what is done is done. Trump will be inaugurated in January, whether we like it or not. We must now gather together to fight, not with our fists or with brutal violence, but with the strength and unity of the different voices that make up our democracy.
We must reconvene and demand that social progress be upheld and flourish. We must relearn what it means to be politically active and part of a democracy. We must also, along with our passion and drive to create a better world, listen. We need to listen to those who said that Trump is the answer to their concerns, to their needs.
This may be painful, because to listen to people’s beliefs when they vehemently contradict your own is a difficult thing. But if our main concern as a community is with our voices not being heard, how can we push to be heard if we refuse to listen?
That being said, we must protect all people from acts of hatred, violence, intolerance or indignity. That includes those voices that contradict our own. They are a part of our community. As much as we may disagree with their opinions, beliefs or rhetoric, they are human beings who deserve safety, dignity and respect.
In order to move forward, to create a world that is fair and equal and just and provides opportunity to all individuals regardless of any differences they may have, we must be willing to work together. That means listening to the other side, to learn how they feel, to understand why they feel that way. Then and only then can we move forward to create an America free of hatred, discrimination, intolerance and cruelty.
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