I woke up on November 9th exhausted. As a woman, person of color and strong believer of a diverse and inclusionary America I was frightened. As much as I tried, I could not separate my conscious mind from the past 16 months of divisiveness, hate mongering, poised, unhinged, presidential, non-presidential, fact checking, who do you believe, lying, mud-slinging, non policy spewing behaviors that we were exposed to relentlessly.
Without question, and for all of my obvious reasons, I supported Hillary. I’ve engaged in numerous conversations with people who felt strongly that she was dishonest and not trustworthy as evidenced, among other things, by the “e-mail” scandal. It was incredulous to me that her more than 30 years of selfless public service were an illusion. Donald’s missteps, bad business practices, and documented inability to tell the truth less than 75% of the time were dismissed with a mere wave of the hand and corresponding admonishment “boys will be boys!” or “come on, you know he really didn’t mean that!”
The fact that Hillary won the popular vote, is even more unsettling but we, as Americans, have to acknowledge what is, and not what we hoped it to be. Donald Trump is our duly elected 45th president and we have to accept it and give him the benefit of the doubt. That being said, I have issued my own call to action. No longer will I give our local, state and/or federal elected officials, a free pass. We must be vigilant in making our needs known and by monitoring their attendance, their voting records and their commitment to us, their constituents. No more coasting, no more obstructionist behavior, and no more putting their individual needs above the people they serve..
My first order of the day was to send congratulations to my newly elected officials and outlined my wish for them to work collaboratively with their colleagues on both sides of the aisle. The responsibility of our government is ours. We must get involved and stay involved with every level of government; the future of our country depends on it.
Some interesting facts regarding the 2016 election from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement: This election had the 4th lowest turnout by young voters in the 18-29 age group for a GOP nominee since 1972. 8% of young voters wrote in third-party candidates like Gary Johnson or Jill Stein; Not enough millennials voted in the swing states; In Florida, Clinton earned 67% of the 18-29 vote compared to 37% for Trump, North Carolina, 60% Clinton vs. 36% for Trump. Had only millennials voted, Clinton would have won the election by a landslide, 473 electoral votes compared to 32 for Donald Trump.
The next time you think “what’s the use? I’m only one person or my voice doesn’t matter”, think again! One vote at a time counts. We can all make a difference!