To those in the majority—especially those first-elected before 2008:
Please remember that, even though Trump was declared winner on November 9th, you are still required to serve the constituency who sent you to D.C. in the first place. Keep in mind also that, as a US Senator or Congressperson, you have the power—for better or worse—to steer our nation’s agenda regardless of who is in the oval office.
To those in the minority:
Remember that, in just the same way that you would not have been obligated to bend to every whim of a President Hillary Rodham Clinton, you are not obligated to bend to those of Donald Trump. It is your constituency whom you ought to serve. By serving them, you serve America.
I understand that there are segments in said constituency who can “get it wrong” sometimes. Just look at what happened with older white males and middle-aged white women’s choice this past election. But, if it is any consolation, Secretary Clinton did win the popular vote. Second time this happens in less than two decades. Don’t you think it’s high time we got rid of the Electoral College?
Please, do not think for one minute that I fault voters. I do not because—who knows—perhaps their heart was in the right place? But it is not intentions that count, I often hear people say; they also say actions speak louder than words. We cannot go on letting our “good intentions” be driven by fear (As it happens, fear, we all know, was the main string candidate Trump pulled.)
“But we are not machines!” you may say. And you would be right. Which means that our hearts must be set in doing what is good for America.
However, we cannot allow an isolationist, racist xenophobe to decide what is good or bad for our nation. Such determination should only be made by men and women of sound mind, common sense, and integrity.
Hemingway once wrote that “No man is an island.” The voters I speak of above would love nothing more than to drag our country back decades—to a time they think was better—and toward isolation.
Thankfully, there are younger Americans in our midst! These young citizens have many times proven themselves much wiser than any of us “adults.” Surprising. Is it not? Our young can see past the hardship of the present, into the future. They showed this uncanny ability in the way they supported Secretary Clinton.
If my memory serves right, younger Americans voted overwhelmingly for Secretary Clinton in all but three or four of the fifty states. Which speaks volumes of them. It says to me, among other things, they understand that time can only move forward; that we cannot go backward; also, that—to get back to Hemmingway—we can’t go it alone.
Since “no man is an island,” the way forward must be through connectivity, or connections.
I am not alluding to the sort of connectivity made possible by undersea cables and satellites, or by the ones and zeroes of the Internet age. I mean human connections. In other words, we need our allies. We need the rest of the world believe it or not.
I beg you to think about our children, and our children’s children. It isn’t just a nice-sounding cliché: children are the future.
I must reiterate that, regardless of what Republicans might say, America’s future is tied to that of every other country on this earth. This is as good a reason as any for you to fight any attempt by anyone in the incoming administration to undo the progress we have fought so hard to achieve.
Think climate change.
Think women’s right to control their own bodies.
Think LGBTQ community.
And there are basketfuls of other pressing issues for you to defend.
I insist: get organized now and start recruiting and training the Democratic leaders of tomorrow.
Start working today!
PS: As you do this, please keep in mind that the longer with keep working from a position of fear and with a mindset of us vs. them, the harder it will be and the longer it will take for our nation to heal.
I encourage you to reach across the aisle whenever possible—but only when doing so would benefit the whole nation, and not just pockets inside of it.
I have tried to give Republicans the benefit of the doubt; to accept them as basically good people—if only misguided. My mistake. We must make it our job to help them understand that non-whites are human beings, too—regardless of the way we look. Still, I have hope. Which is why I still believe that at some point we will begin a constructive dialogue. For that to happen, however, Republicans would need to stop seeing us, minorities, as subhuman.