The outcome of last Tuesday’s election was not the outcome I wanted nor do I think it was one America was expecting. I, like most of America, stayed up anxiously waiting and staring at the television as the numbers kept coming in.
In what felt like the longest and shortest election season, our President-elect, Donald Trump, was announced.
The days following the election are some that will stick with me forever. In the wake of Trump’s win, I have seen egregious comments from people — people who voted for Donald Trump, people who voted for Hillary Clinton and people who did not vote at all.
The hypocrisy I have seen from people who voted for Clinton is despicable. People who claimed to have voted against discrimination and hatred are now name calling and harassing those who voted differently.
There is no difference in protesting against a Donald Trump presidency because of the hateful things he has said and turning around to say hateful things to and about the people who voted for him.
We are better than this. Riots and arguing with people who have opposing views over social media is not the way to welcome our president-elect who has an agenda to “make America great again.”
I am not forgetting any of the spiteful comments Trump has made in the past. I do not think there is a way anyone can defend his derogatory comments on immigrants, women, Latinos, Muslims and the LGBT community.
Over the last week, social media has reminded me that because I am a woman, and because I am a Latina, I should be fearful. I should be mourning. I should be protesting. I should question my friendships with friends who voted for Trump.
I did have a moment of fear. I wanted to see Hillary Clinton become the next president. The night of the election, I thought about my three sisters and nearly made myself sick thinking if anything were to happen to them. I thought of my little brother and the kind of example the President of the United States should be setting for him.
I stayed up journaling, praying and thinking — thinking of the country I want to live in. I do not know what a Trump presidency is going to be like. No one does. I may not have voted for him, but I have faith and a lot of it at that.
After shaking off the emotional reaction to the results, I started thinking of what this election has taught me. It has taught me about the person I want to be — as a woman and as a Latina. Instead of living in fear, I choose hope. Instead of protesting, I choose peace. Instead of hating our next president, I choose respect.
My mom raised my siblings and I to respect and love every single person — regardless of our differences. I value my friends and family’s opinions. Who am I to judge or disregard anyone who voted for Trump?
It is okay to be angry, sad or even scared. But there is work to do and progress to be made. Let’s stop attacking each other and do something. Turn anger into action. Donate to causes that matter to you. Volunteer in your community. Check in on your friends.
It is easy to look on social media and believe we are headed in the wrong direction, but find the good — be the good. This is not the time to panic. Now, more than ever, is the time to unify and encourage one another.
Just maybe I am being too hopeful or sound too confident, but I do know one thing: racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia and Islamophobia are not going to disappear overnight. We need change. It starts with me, and it starts now.
God bless America.