It takes a village.
Try as I might, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. By 10:00 p.m., I surrendered to the heaviness in my heart that started early into the night. The last thing I did was text Dylan and Eliza. “I literally can’t keep my eyes open. Hoping not to wake up to a 4 year nightmare. Sweet dreams.” And I drifted off to sleep.
The phone rang in the middle of the night and I could hear his voice. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. At 2:34 a.m., Dylan called the house phone. I could hear him say the words, “Donald Trump is our president.” My body reacted to the news as if there’d been a terrible accident. This was devastating. Was I dreaming? I had gotten up an hour earlier to let Cupcake out and I purposefully did not check my phone. I knew in my gut, but I didn’t want it to be true. You know?
I’m not bashing your candidate if you wanted him to win. I’m just letting you know that if you didn’t want Donald Trump as much as I didn’t want Donald Trump, I feel your ache. And if you voted for Donald Trump, imagine how you would be feeling right now if Hillary won. Some of us are devastated and some of you are elated. It’s the great divide.
Did Hillary supporters assume she had it in the bag and not bother to stand in line and be heard? Were they “With Her” in spirit and not at the polls? Did every last Trump supporter come out and vote so HERstory would not be made? Doesn't love trump hate? Is this really how America feels? I don’t know and it doesn’t matter anymore.
What does matter to me is how we heal as a nation? How do I look in the eyes of my friends who spewed hate all over Facebook and see the same person inside before this battle began? How do I unsee their posts? How do I start to feel a sense of “we” again and not “them” and “us”? During this election, I pledged I would start my sentences with “I” as I wished every candidate would. I vowed to be respectful because in the end, everyone is entitled to have their point of view. I resisted engaging in name calling and being opinionated, and unfriended only a few people who I felt broke my ground rules for being a good citizen. This is a term we use in the Rosenberg house.
What can each of us do so that all of us can come together? Perhaps we can acknowledge that there is hurt and damage, a sort of emotional wreckage. Today, I'll sit with my thoughts and navigate my way out of this aftershock. It will certainly be a gradual process. I’d like to create a plan of action that will allow me to be part of the solution. This will be my work and I chose that word carefully. I mean hard work. This will not happen organically. I will have to make a concerted effort to let go and move on and so will you, no matter whose side you were on.
I can say that I didn’t genuinely feel Hillary in my heart the way I did Obama, but our values aligned. I like what she had to say and I felt she was completely qualified in every way. I still do. But my vote for her was as much against him as it was for her. In my world Donald Trump wasn’t an option I could live with. Yet here I am trying to figure out how to do just that.
So how about if we start the process today by treating each other as teammates. It’s as if we’ve been playing a competitive game against each other. As each team tried to win, they had to force the other team to lose. That’s how a game works. Whether you’re dealing with profound loss or sweet victory, operate from a place of empathy. We all fought the good fight. Some of us are going to have a hard day. My hope is that there will be silver linings.
In much the same way people come together after a natural disaster, maybe we can start to heal by reaching out to each other. I reflect back to Hurricane Matthew. We were all just pulling for each other to get through. Friends and neighbors came over to help us hang shutters at the eleventh hour. There was no discussion about who we were voting for or why. There wasn’t a single horrible hateful Facebook post for days. It was a healthy pause from a different kind of storm. And in much the same way that we wait for the power to come back on after a hurricane, we will need to look for light to guide us out of this darkness that has been the undercurrent of one of the nastiest elections of our time.
As the people of this country sort through the remains of this process and clean up, I hope we can be human beings first. Let’s conduct ourselves in a way that makes our children and our parents proud. What makes this a great country is that we are a melting pot. Our diversity makes us interesting so be interested in how people are doing around you. We all had a stake in the game. Winner or loser, I vote that we offer a kind word or a smile to someone who needs it today and let’s take baby steps towards each other. Be mindful that there’s a lot going on and for today, let that be enough.
“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Man- KIND. Think about it. Be about it. Make your difference today and change the world for the better. It takes a village. Let's make America whole.