Dear friends, family, and acquaintances.
I need to preface this entry for a number of reasons, but the most important reason as to why I'm doing so is for everyone's sake, including my own:
You will not agree with everything I'm about to say. If you agree with everything I say, there's a problem. If you disagree with everything I have to say, that's okay. I don't hold begrudge you for that. I am not claiming that I know it all. I'm not claiming that my word is the gospel and everyone else's word is wrong. I, much like anyone else, am voicing my concerns, hopes, and plans for the aftermath of the most contentious election in history.
Also, if you, at any moment feel offended by what you're about to read or from what you've just read and want to discontinue, by all means do so. I'm not forcing you. I merely submit my following thoughts for your consideration, as I would do for you.
The 2016 presidential election, for all intents and purposes, was the most widely-contested election of my lifetime, and for many others. We had a Democratic Party candidate. We had a Republican Party candidate. We had a Libertarian Party candidate. We had a Green Party candidate, and we had an Independent Party candidate.
First and foremost, find me another nation in this world where you can be a part of five or more "parties" to run for the highest office in your land. Chances are slim. Think of how awesome it is to live in a country where you have different ideas and still be considered a leader of a party.
Now, I'm probably going to have a number of people who are frustrated beyond belief about "...the death of the Democratic Party..." and "...the death of the Republican Party...", and that's okay. You're allowed to feel that way. Whether you feel the parties should be torn down and rebuilt on the principles upon which they were built, that's okay. I respect that.
Think about how far we've come in general. We had a former reality TV celebrity run for president. We also had the first woman run for president as part of one of the two major parties. Find me another country that has the success we have and I'll certainly eat crow.
Let's strip this down to its very core. Millennials, Generation X-ers, and many others cast their vote on Election Day. We heard non-stop for 15-16 months from Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and a number of other candidates how they felt they wanted to steer the United States of America.
Do we have a lot of areas that need fixing across this great land? Absolutely. I wouldn't question that further than I would question than if a dog barks or a cat meows. Whether it's foreign policy, immigration, gender/income equality, the economy,
However, I feel that we have so many amazing things happening in the United States. Technology is advancing at an insane rate and sometimes it's hard to keep up with it. I get to travel wherever I want. I get to choose my career field in which I want to advance in life. I get to choose my own spouse, that is if she'll agree to spend the rest of her life with me. The same goes for women and people of differing genders.
That's pretty amazing, if you ask me.
I also want you to know that I'm not here to bash minority groups, restrict gender/income equality, or spew hate in any way, shape or form. No need to wear a safety pin. No need to issue trigger warnings. No need to attend a "mind spa." (If you're not aware of what a mind spa is, check it out here.)
I'm not asking those who opposed Donald Trump to give him a chance. Simply, they shouldn't have to because a strong contingent of them felt disrespected toward the treatment of their vote in Barack Obama. I'm sure there were Caucasians (none that I know) that wished ill will on our 44th president. I think that's utterly shameful to want someone dead simply because you don't vote for them or they completely and unequivocally oppose your views in life.
Now, you don't have to like Donald Trump for a number of reasons. He wasn't my original choice. I felt that, in relation to my values on what I want changed in this country, he was the best choice, in my opinion.
While I don't feel it's completely appropriate to discuss who I voted for, I'm accepting of the fact that I voted for Trump. You can take that for what you will. Will I hold him to the highest standards like I would Barack Obama? Absolutely. If he does something great, I'll give him credit for it. If he lets something fail in which he has the power/influence to make it happen, then I'm going to call him out on it. If he starts spewing hate, then I'll call him out on it. I'll admit my embarrassment for my candidate. So far, he's saying all the right things as the president-elect.
Does Donald Trump have the thinnest of skin when it comes to anyone making any sort of criticisms about him? Absolutely. I cannot stand it one iota when he's threatening to get Saturday Night Live shut down after they ridicule him endlessly when he of all people, a long-time New Yorker, should know what SNL is all about. The video we saw where he allegedly attempted to commit infidelity was wrong in every sense of the word. Being unsure of whether or not you should denounce one of the former leaders of the KKK is unacceptable.
I've had many people I know tell me how much they'd prefer "corruption over hate" any day of the week. I would ask why. Yes, hate is horrid. Hate leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It's almost as difficult to get the taste of hate of the mouth as it is getting red wine off the carpet. It all starts with the people who are closest to us. We must learn to love each other while offering rational thoughts rather than operating without a filter of any kind.
I ask the following question: when, at any time, would you think that hate can't be drained, much like changing the oil from your motor vehicle? In my opinion, accepting corruption is like you're okay with someone who's deliberately trying to cheat the system in order to get his/her way. Someone who is willing to break the law in order to achieve his/her goals. You could argue the whole lack of releasing tax information and releasing health records until the cows come home. It's nauseating. I think you understand that as well.
I've heard countless fears and cries from you - my friends, family, and acquaintances - and I'm listening, while I might not be responding to your every Facebook post, Twitter status, or Snapchat. I'm never going to tell you to calm down, and move on. Something like this is unprecedented. You're in shock. I get it. You deserve to air your grievances a la Seinfeld and during the (appropriate) Festivus season.
You might be claiming that Donald Trump, the president-elect, is "not your president." Very well. You are allowed to feel that way. I respect your decision, to an extent. So long as you're an American citizen residing in this great land of ours, you can exercise your First Amendment rights. You feel that he's going to drastically change this country in 4 short years in numerous ways.
Our government system is based on checks and balances. Nothing is going to be achieved solely based on the pen of one man/woman.
I was taught in my history classes that there are three branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial. The legislative branch is the one comprised of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Four hundred and thirty-five members who are elected, much like the president, that are supposed to be working for us, the people. They engage in corruption at times as well, and the onus on us to contact them to make it right. The same goes for a man like Donald Trump.
We also have the executive branch, which is supposed to enforce such laws created by the Congress. Cabinet members are supposed to be manning their battle stations and carrying out what Congress has dealt them. When laws are questioned through superior/district and appeals courts, the third branch of government in the Supreme Court is the branch that is ordered to uphold such laws.
Look... we all have political differences, but the thing that matters in the end is we all need to come together, have civil discourse, and go home at the end of the day and be forever thankful that we live the lives we have.
I have a couple more points that are jumping out of my skin:
First, when I have friends of mine say that "America showed its true colors on election night," that really angers me as an American. We have a system in place in the Electoral College. Whether you're well-versed in it or not, please take a few minutes and watch here as to why we have it in the first place. It's unbelievable how little voters know about the EC. I'm not saying it's the best system, but it's the best that we have. National popular vote doesn't work, in my eyes. What really chaps my hide is those who are so irate about the outcome, they feel the need to riot. Protesting is one thing, but inciting riots across the country is not the endgame and should never be.
Secondly, if you are so staunchly against the results, that's fine, but please do not try to provide reasons as to why you think voting for a particular candidate is a so-called "hate crime." What if the results were reversed? Would you expect to see riots in the streets? Would you expect to see votes of "#NotMyPresident?" Would you, yourself, wish death upon Hillary Clinton (or anyone else, for that matter)? We all preach about how "past is prologue," and how history shouldn't repeat itself. If we don't want history to repeat itself, then let us rather be the change we want to see in the world (thanks, Gandhi).
If you truly want to make snarky remarks in joking about how you hope the president-elect suffers a heart attack and dies, then by all means, go ahead. You lose a lot of respect from me. Just because people in the past did that to Presidents Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, etc., and whether they meant it or not (which doesn't really matter at this point), it speaks more to the insanity of the people who oppose a guy like Donald Trump. Is Trump a different kind of human being in running for the presidency? One hundred percent, yes. However, if you truly want to be taken seriously, not just by this person, but by others, I recommend a couple of ideas.
Treat others how you want to be treated. You want to wish ill upon ANYONE, for ANY reason, then that falls on you. I can't do anything to help, nor would I want to do anything. So far, Donald Trump is saying all the right things as president-elect. I wish success for the man and his administration. Admittedly, his choices for a couple cabinet positions are, at the very least, questionable and head-scratching.
Also, if you talk about how you converse a lot with family and friends, with whom you're pretty close, and just because you don't agree with their choice for President (i.e. Donald Trump), and you, for example, will go to lengths to cut off communication to him/her just because of their choice, where's the open-mindedness? Where's the tolerance one was taught, if at all, growing up? Tolerance is about listening to others' opinions and respecting their views, unless, for example, it's deliberately and negatively affecting your way of life.
I don't expect you to agree with everything I've laid out. I'm not a perfect human being. I'm not the most-educated when it comes to politics. Hell, I'm not that informed on a lot of things because of the wealth of misinformation peering from its proverbial coil and making its way through social media and passing for truth. Granted, we're supposed to be trained to gather information and make our own judgments, but when do you separate propaganda, and news organizations. This is most certainly an election many are wanting to forget (despite the sheer impossibility) based on the lack of correct information being relayed to us, the American voter.
I'm accepting of the fact that living in a utopia is a far-fetched fairy tale that will be extremely difficult to achieve. If we want to live in a world where we can't preach tolerance (correctly), and not respect one another, in more ways than one, then we have a longer road to repair ahead of us. It's not going to be easy and nobody said it would be. We have to be the bigger person in respecting winners and losers. There are those in life. Not everyone is going to receive participation trophies in life. We can all be winners in life even when we struggle.
There are a couple quotes that strike quite strongly with me.
“Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.” - Robert T. Kiyosaki
"The best revenge is to not be like your enemy." - Marcus Aurelius
I urge you to think about these quotes, not about the person who said them, and really digest them. I'm not saying I've figured out the answer in how to get over how tiresome, taxing, and strenuous this election has been. The recovery time is going to be something along the lines, figuratively speaking, of suffering a season-ending torn ACL in your knee.
It's going to feel like the worst pain in the world. The worst possible fear you've ever experienced. You're going to wonder if you can ever recover from it. You may project and speculate what's going to happen upon your return to the real world, but you, I and everyone else, truly have no clue of what's going to be given to us 4 years from now, let alone, next week or even tomorrow.
By the way, a little side note, if you're going to use your voice on any available platform in the United States, and you follow that up by not even voting at all in the process, while I disagree with George Carlin about those who don't vote have every right to complain, that is quite the contrary. We have a system in place and rights given to every American citizen here that if you vote, it gives you the right to complain, in essence.
We must be willing to adapt to our environment. If we were to just do our own thing regardless of who was in charge, that would be anarchy in a sense. If we were all required to vote for one candidate and one policy and one phone to use and so on, we'd be living in a dictatorship. We are FAR from either of those.
Let's look on the bright side of life. We have so much to be thankful for. I want to spread more love and acceptance of all my fellow brothers and sisters of the world with whom I walk. I respect you for who you are. I will not spread hate. I will not discriminate and I will not wish ill will on anyone else. I hope you do the same.
Let's continue to make the United States of America THE United States of America, instead of leaning toward the Divided States of America. Let's give other nations more reason to know why we are the land of opportunity and why we are the best nation in which to live across the board. We are better than this, America.
Much love, sincerity and respect,