I woke up today full of hope. After four days trekking the Inca Trail—blissfully disconnected from day-to-day life, getting to know people from all countries and all backgrounds, learning about other cultures, and marveling at the natural beauty of our world—I slept deeply and woke excited to hear the news of progress in my home country. I am embarrassed to say that I was genuinely shocked to hear the real news.
From our little hostel room in Peru, I’ve been absorbing reactions all day…heartfelt messages posted to social media, YouTube clips, op-eds. As usual, I hesitate to add my own voice to the mix—because I can’t say it any better, because what good would it do?
But if one thing is clear to me now, it’s that silence is never the answer. I have managed to surround myself in enough of a liberal bubble that I truly didn’t think this would happen, and that in itself is a huge problem. The undeniable truth is that my country propelled and elected this person to the highest position of power in the world, and that is a reality we can’t afford to laugh at or ignore.
Frankly, right now, I’m afraid. It is an embarrassing day to be an American abroad, and it is so easy to give in to fear. And anger. And despair. (And jokes about never returning to my own country.) But above all, I know the only way to go is forward, and I know that hatred and fear will only ever drag us backward. So here’s my two cents on my little corner of the internet: Today I’m choosing hope.
To my friends and fellow Americans of color, of Latin American or Middle Eastern descent, and those who identify as LGBTQ: I can’t imagine how it feels for you today. Please know that I and so many others are here, standing with you, and will continue to fight for progress no matter what happens.
To those who voted for a Trump presidency: You exercised your right and made your voice heard, and I am thankful to live in a country where this right is available to everyone. I promise to work to better understand your fears and hopes for our country, and I honestly and sincerely hope that the next four years will bring good things for all of us.
Finally, to everyone sharing messages of love and support today: Thank you for being an example for me. Thank you for putting some much-needed hope into the world. It’s the only way we can move forward, together, from this nasty, divisive election season.
I’m still trying to wrap my mind around what this means for our future and exactly what we do from here. All I know is that hopelessness, fear, and anger CANNOT not be what drives us. We need to lean on one another and look to love and understanding to heal our differences. We have so much to learn from this. We have so much work to do. And I think, if we look closely, we have so much to be hopeful about.