“This loss hurts. But please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It is—it is worth it.” – Hillary Clinton, Nov. 9, 2016
I went through the stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I must admit I still have tinges of depression, but I’m not fighting it, just letting myself feel it.
Here’s what else I’m doing—I’m letting go of the anger. Especially the anger. Because that’s not what we need right now. What we need—both sides—is the strength to do something seemingly impossible. We need to look each other full in the face. We need to find our way back to community.
Contrary to what you might think, I do not want Donald Trump to fail. I want him to become a better man and the leader we need to bring us together and to keep our country safe. So far he hasn’t shown much aptitude for change, but I fervently hope the magnitude of his new responsibility will shape his behavior from now on.
How we all react to our challenges will be the true test of our character and our institutions.
I’ve read, as have most of you, the anger and despair-filled posts and articles, the mea culpas and the pointing of fingers. I’ve seen cruel winners and sore losers. The ugliness refuses to go away.
Well let me rephrase that—people won’t let the ugliness go away.
But can’t you see we must?
I’m a big girl. I can’t cry forever. For the good of our nation I intend to pull on my big girl pantsuit and jump back in—without bitterness but with plenty of vigilance.
On the very day after the election, Mr. Trump announced that his pick to lead the Environmental Protection Administration’s transition team is a man who is a known climate skeptic. That’s right, Trump’s selection of Myron Ebell signals horrible news for the environment and for the agency that protects it.
That’s just the beginning. Here’s some of what’s at stake in the coming four years:
The Affordable Care Act. The Republicans want it repealed, which would strip health insurance from 22 million people.
LGBT rights and marriage equality. Just when young LGBT were beginning to feel safe coming out of the closet, they might decide to burrow right back in. What will happen to my friends’ marriages? Their children?
Immigrant families are now terrified that they will be hunted and deported and ripped apart. They are seeing their possible future as Americans jeopardized.
Ditto for Muslim Americans. Will Donald Trump be their president or will he be their discriminator in chief? We have many Muslims in our Hawaii community. Will we have to register them, spy on them, treat them like criminals?
African Americans and race relations. CNN commentator Van Jones eloquently asked, how do we explain a Trump presidency to our kids?
One of the terrifying aspects of this election has been the rise of white nationalists and their acceptance into the culture of our society. This puts all minorities at risk, including people of Jewish faith.
And women. I do believe women have been energized by Hillary Clinton’s run. I do believe they will be watching this new president closely. We’ve come too far to go back without a fight. We will not be disrespected, abused and harassed into silence.
And the biggest challenge of all—the Supreme Court. That ball is not in our court, so to speak. Republicans have refused to hold hearings for President Obama’s nominee. Their obstructionism appears to have paid off. It’s deeply, morally and probably constitutionally wrong, but it is what it is.
People, I’m not intending to go the route of the GOP into obstructionism. I want us to find areas where we can all work together. Trump has already mentioned the need to improve infrastructure—something President Obama tried to do and was shot down. If this president and Congress can get it done I’m all for it.
And I’ll look for other areas of agreement. We are Americans and we have cherished our ability to work for the common good. Does that still hold today? This is our test.
What Donald Trump does is important and will affect us all. But even more important will be our actions. Yours and mine, and on both sides of the political wall (notice I did not say aisle, that’s too gentle for what we’ve built).
We need to dig deep within ourselves for the courage to do what’s right. Country before party. Faith before despair. Love over hate.
As Hillary Clinton said in her beautiful concession speech, “I still believe as deeply as I ever have that if we stand together and work together with respect for our differences, strength in our convictions and love for this nation, our best days are still ahead of us.”
Thank you, Mrs. Clinton. I still believe it, too.
So we will agree when and where we can. And where we can’t, I intend to continue the good fight for what I believe. That’s my duty, and it’s yours.