This morning when I got my coffee, my car just sort of steered itself to the Taylor’s house. I needed to see the sweet faces of my twins to remind me how much good there is in America to still believe in.
My entire life I’ve had a vision of our country that was sold to me by my forefathers. The Martin Luther King Jrs who shook stuff up; the Bobby Kennedys who preached about change; the ones who paved the way to make progress possible; the Rosa Parks who refused to comply, the Freedom Writers who refused to be deterred, the Alexander Hamiltons who refused to be quiet; the Pat Summits who refused to be denied; the Dolly Partons who refuse to live life small (pun intended); the Abraham Lincolns who refused to go gently into that good night — even when it took his own life.
The American people are vigorously generous, unfazed, and good. We are faith based and chivalrous. Kind hearted and strong. Powerful, but aware. Dominant, but decent. Omnipotent, but wise. A force for good in this world.
I saw none of that last night.
We gave into anxiety. We let our hate be stronger than our love; let our fear be stronger than truth. We let our differences dictate irrationality. We allowed what divides us to be stronger than what unites us. We let bigotry win.
While conventional political wisdom always tells us that a two-term president is followed by a president from the opposing party, there’s nothing conventional about this election. And there’s nothing conventional about hate. As I set in the floor sobbing, grieving like a death that I seem to be mourning, I realized that’s because I was. It was. The death of a dream. The death of the nation that I always believed in, the one where good always wins. Where the little guy stands up to the bully. Where the hero always saves the day.
With a nation whose history is composed of the oppressions and prejudices that have befallen the United States, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we’re here. But it does. It did. It always will.
I thought we were better than that — farther along than that — and we’re not. And that can’t help but hurt.
Last night we just told the world who we were, and if they listen to the great Maya Angelou — they’ll believe us. And that’s what hurts most of all.
I’ve dreamed about getting arrested in a civil rights protest since I learned what they are, so I should understand and expect setbacks following progression. But this one caught me by surprise. Just like the deep-seated racism that was revealed to me with the presidency of Barack Obama, the election of Donald Trump has revealed to me just how far we still have to go.
No wonder it feels like grieving. This is the wake for the country I thought I knew. One I didn’t realize was so sick until morality and the golden rule had all but died. And it wasn’t the only thing that fell over. With its passing it threatens to take us out too.
We can’t let that happen, America. If they divide us, they conquer. If they fill us with hate for our brother, they win.
I won’t let you win, Donald Trump. I will let no man pull me so low as to hate him — not even you, Mr. Trump.
So I wish you the very best of luck, Sir.
May God bless you and the ALREADY great United States.