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“I cannot be an optimist but I am a prisoner of hope.”
― Cornel West

Election 2016

I’m struggling to find words adequate to express all I am feeling. I know I’m not alone in this.
So many  are stunned by the reality of a Trump presidency.

Mr. Trump has not proven to be a man of clarity. He seems to lack the ability or willingness to understand the monumental, complicated task ahead. He’s expressed disgust for world leaders who’ve conducted themselves with thoughtful diplomacy and dignity. He’s condemned those who work toward a more unified country. Good gods, I won’t include the overly long list of those he’s disparaged, abused, sued, sought to harm, or eject. That’s been done, though it didn’t seem to make a difference.

It is my nature to be hopeful. Skeptically hopeful. Even after this election, I remain so. Less for Mr. Trump than for us. I want to believe. However, the election numbers give me pause.
Regardless of your support, concern, or full-on terror of the election results and its implications, seriously consider these facts:

Less than 30% of eligible voters bothered to cast a ballot in the Democratic and Republican Primaries in February of this year (the primaries which selected each party’s leader).
This means that 70% of American voters chose to opt out of that important decision.
Nearly 50% of eligible voters did not bother to show up and cast a ballot yesterday for President.
Fifty percent.
Among that shamefully pitiful American Voter turnout, Trump and Clinton garnered only about 25% each.
So, while you’re struggling to understand just what happened, what the future of our democracy will look like, or how we’ll move forward from here, remember all of this.

Remember the vast numbers of citizens who chose to step off and stay home.
Think about the number of voters who felt it was their duty to withhold their vote as a kind of protest against a corrupt system.
Think about how, through inaction, ignorance, or laziness, we’ve created that which we abhor.
Think about how often we’re just too tired to investigate matters on our own, and so are seduced by for-profit news outlets who happily offer easy-to-repeat lines lacking substance, chock-full of prepackaged misery. Stuff we can more readily regurgitate in order to spread that ignorance around.
How many Trump supporters did not know (and certainly could not explain) their candidate’s proposed policies? Or have even a rudimentary understanding of our government? Or our constitutionally protected rights and responsibilities as citizens?

This isn’t about blame.  It’s about responsibility. Hope. Adulthood.
Blame merely assesses an event and finds fault. This can be useful, but without improvement, it’s paralysis. Don’t let yourself get stuck in the assessment portion of this process.
Instead, learn from what’s happened, and make a difference.

Take comfort in those you love. Eat. Hug someone.
And consider how you can become more informed, more engaged, more active.

Renew your commitment to equality, justice, compassion. Do this not just in conversation. Do it in action.
Do all you can to make this country all you hope it would be.

We are better than this. We are stronger than this. We can, and will, breathe through this. We will plant peace.

Donate your time and money to things that matter to you: Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood, RAINN, ACLU, the Brady Campaign, NPR, Innocence Project.

What can you do to make this a more perfect union?

And, No, there were not massive, nationwide votes cast for Harambe. Google that shit.