With the current onslaught of social media posts, sharing, status’, photos, videos, tweets and even face-to-face riots, protests and opinions, the recent election is beginning to consume (even more so than the lead up to the election did) absolutely everything and everyone.
Here in California, it’s not difficult to imagine that almost everyone is appalled – people are dampened and teary and hurt and frightened. In other states, many are rejoicing, thrilled, excited at the handing over of power from one party to another.
As an Australian citizen but a U.S. resident, my perspective on the whole thing is entirely different to most – and I am going to choose to leave what I think and how I feel out of this article. We have plenty of emotional posters and preaching platforms already.
And regardless of where YOU stand – who you voted (or didn’t vote) for, who you side with, what you believe in; I say this to everyone.
This is an election.
Yes, it is important – very, very important. Yes, it will shape the next four years and most probably the years and culture long after. Yes, it is already shaping today.
However, at the end of everything – and I mean everything – a country is not its President, or its Senate. A country is its people.
If you are happy with this outcome – be happy, be humble.
If you are unhappy with this outcome – mourn, but stay hopeful.
Amidst all the overwhelming emotion and passion (all of which is entirely valid and justified), let us remember one very important thing; each person that voted, voted for what they thought would be the best path for America. Whether or not you agree or disagree, we must acknowledge and hold above all else – above any candidate, party, representative, speech or slice of propaganda – the fact that every single person running for and voting within this country loves this country and is trying to improve it.
As I’ve mentioned, you may disagree with someone on the logistics of this improvement. You may despise the rationale that underlies the ‘opposition’ and you may (many, many do) feel personally attacked and victimized by the entire process, logistical realities and outcome.
I’m not telling you not to feel this way.
You don’t have to agree. You don’t have to sacrifice what you feel, or see, or think, or believe. But you do have to wake up, show up, and keep moving forward.
This election is not you – you are powerful and ambitious and opinionated and emotional and complex and educated and wonderful. You have the opportunity to take this outcome – for better or worse – as both a challenge and a chance for positive progression.
This election is not life – today, in this moment, your life is valid and exceptional. Your life means everything to someone, and no law or policy will ever change that. (You may disagree, but you’re getting ahead of yourself. Right now, today, in this second, you matter. And you will continue to matter, always).
This election is not America – I said it earlier and I’ll say it again; a country is not its President. America is not its President – not now, not ever. America is its people; their culture, diversity, growth, values.
America is its people. Now, more so than perhaps ever before, how you – as an American citizen – react, recoup, and represent yourselves to one another and to the international domain will determine exactly what America is. Choose to act in such a way that makes you proud of yourself, and proud of your country. This is your country. These are your friends, your family. You have both a responsibility and an opportunity to do good. So go, do good.
Tomorrow will come, and the day after, and the day after – and so long as you continue to listen, feel and act with the compassion and pride that drove you to vote in the first place, this election can be exactly that; an election.