The country has become more polarized than ever, and we’re doing nothing to change it. Protests on the street, and shouts of “Not My President” will continue to move us further apart. We can continue to believe that half the country are bigots, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic and racists; but that would be simplistic and missing the big picture.
I understand anger and frustration and fear. Some of you think that people will be rounded up and deported. You’re worried that gay kids will be forced into conversion therapy. You’re concerned that President-elect Trump will enact the promises of his campaign.
For your own sanity, I say step back and take a breath. Now is the time for self-reflection. Really ask yourself, why did the country elect Donald Trump.
We’ve entered into a winner-take-all mentality on the political stage, and that’s not how democracies work. For our republic to function, we have to listen to our opposition. The reasons that people voted for Trump is not without merit. They want jobs. They fear for their safety. They want to blow up the establishment. They think Washington needs change.
Donald Trump spoke to these people—your fellow citizens. If we want to win them over, then we have to do a better job of getting their vote. Elections are campaigns of ideas, and tools of persuasion. We don’t just want a show of hands.
For now, our lives aren’t significantly different today than yesterday. No one is coming in the night to harm us. Like it or not, Donald Trump is our future president. We can continue the divisiveness that led to six years of gridlock, or we can work with the new administration and congress to make sure that they enact laws and regulations that accurately reflect the views of the entire country. The alternative is to continue doing the same thing we’ve done before, and keep viewing our opposition as the enemy.
As to the possible future attacks on our civil liberties, we can prepare by getting the pieces ready to be a forceful and effective opposition. Donate to the ACLU, HRC and NAACP. Call your representative and remind them that, even if you didn’t vote for them, you are still part of their constituent, and that your voice needs to be accounted for.
For now, dial down the vitriol. Listen to the winners. They’re trying to tell you something.