I’ve been dreading today for months. If you, like me, like the 65 million people that make up a little over half of the voting population of this country, supported Hillary, then you’ve been dreading this day, too. You called in sick to work today. You’re thumbing through Netflix and blogs and books and watching President Bartlet fight against mandatory minimums in The West Wing and praying that this isn’t real. That our 45th President, a man 240 years in the making, is not Donald J. Trump. That our Constitution, the oldest in the world still in effect, will not be torn to shreds by a man that seems to have no regard, no love, no obligation to this country that he has suddenly, unexpectedly found himself President of. That you will wake up now and this was all a bad dream: they miscounted, and Hillary Clinton is the President.
If you, unlike me, like the 62 million people that make up about half of the voting population of this country, supported Trump, I’m glad. I’m glad that you have this platform to express your views, your feelings, everything that has been building up inside you. Perhaps we, the liberals, ignored you. Perhaps a lot of the time, we shouted down your views, or didn’t even let you speak. But I’m scared, for myself and the percentage of the U.S. population that are women or gay or trans or nonwhite. I know we don’t share views or values. But we share one thing: we love our country. I won’t pretend to know how you felt eight years ago. But I’m hoping that you will work to make us feel safer and more at home than we made you feel when our candidate, President Barack Obama, was elected in 2008 and again in 2012. All I ask of you is that you tell me, tell people of color, tell women, tell immigrants, tell gay folks and transgender folks and liberals and DREAMers and so many more that this is our country and that we all belong here, equals.
If you, unlike me, like 6,682,000,000 of the people alive today, live in the world outside of the United States, I ask for your patience and for your optimism. I know a majority of the world is embarrassed for us. I know you feel that we have done something immoral, xenophobic, unethical, and hate-fueled by placing Donald Trump in our nation’s highest office. (Sometimes, I believe that is true, and sometimes I hope it is not.) For those of you who believe that we elected our 45th President based on racism and misogyny, I ask you to remember this, something Dr. Martin Luther King often said that President Barack Obama often cites: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it tends toward justice.” But I also ask you to remember that those who voted for Donald Trump were going through something we need to understand and be able to imagine.
If you, like me, like 38 million people, live in the state of California, you have heard of #CALEXIT, California’s (proposed) 2019 referendum to secede from the Union. If you are thinking of voting to leave, I ask you to remember everything I have written above. And I also ask you to remember the Civil War, how the South seceded, and what happened next.
Whoever you are, like me or unlike me, Hillary supporter, Trump supporter, or neither, I ask you to keep faith in this Union. For the next four or eight or sixteen years, I ask that you keep faith in this divided, beautiful paradox of a country.
God bless America.