As half the country who voted for Donald Trump warm up their twitter fingers, firing off tweets and talking points, gloating at their election win — a very different set of feelings have started sinking in for the other half of the country.
Sum of Many Fears
In the sum of all so many fears, many awoke after the election to a reality of disbelief to a country that doesn’t quite seem like the one they were in the day before. One where I was proud in hearing the responses of my oldest children when asking them what traits in a President they thought were most important — “open mindedness”, “intelligence” and “trustworthiness”
As was the case with many parents, one of my first thoughts was how would I explain this election outcome to my kids? How would I have the discussion with them as to how our country voted for an individual to be President who has repeatedly displayed egregious behavior and bellicose — often provoking the worst in people since declaring his run for office.
It’s a tall order to find the right message and words to explain to your children that the next President will be someone who is the antithesis of President Barack Obama — the only one most of our children have identified with and known.
Politics and philosophical differences aside, it is hard for even his opponents to argue that, President Obama has conducted himself as nothing less than a role model while living in the White House — with grace, integrity, class and tactfulness.
Trump Went Low, To Get High
Supporters of Donald Trump have started presenting this notion that those who supported and voted for Barack Obama, whereby he won in 2008 and 2012, are now feeling what they did after those two election losses — and that notion is simply a hard one to swallow.
This election was different and unlike any other over the past twenty-five years, covering the span of my lifetime.
While each of these elections presented spirited campaigns — sometimes caught up in a bit of mud-slinging — it is a far cry from a situation where a candidate and party nominee for President of the United States has used the bully-pulpit in such an abhorrent manner.
This election loss “feels” different for those supporters of Hillary Clinton — because it is so very different!
None of the former party nominees ever went out on the campaign trail using it to incite hate and violence among their supporters, mock people and their disabilities, call for bans on folks because of their religious faith, insult women in both a demeaning and vulgar fashion — all while on the national stage and under an unprecedented spotlight.
Divided But Not Conquered
As Americans we are a resilient people that have been tested throughout our history both here at home and abroad. While it is clear that the divide in this country is painful and steep — whereby our politics may prevent the coming together on agreements of policy and philosophy — we still have more in common as a people than we do not.
While many of us may never be in sync with a President Trump — and will be having that conversation with our children about what happened in this election — perhaps the way forward is through our communities, civic groups, places of worship and in showing our kids that as Americans we have rights in our democracy that counter the many things in this past election that were so very wrong.
WE CAN rise up in protest against those who would oppress our freedoms and people.
WE CAN call out and stand up to those who would bully and threaten the less fortunate in our society.
WE CAN report on, and expose, the injustices that transpire that are rooted in fear, stereotypes and hate.
And “yes, WE CAN” have hope — that regardless of those things that had us vote differently — that when it comes to those matters so close to home and of national consequence — we as a people under a banner of patriotism — strength — commonalities — will unite, and not divide, in moving our country forward.
This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post
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