I have been wanting to write this letter to you from the moment I realized our country was actually going to elect Donald Trump. I found myself trying to wait until I was less emotional, more rational. I see now that day might not come any time soon.
So, I'm not overtly patriotic. I don't fly an American Flag outside our house or have an "I love America" bumper sticker on my hypothetical car or a bald eagle tattooed on my bicep. But I do have a deep love for our country and the people who live in it. ALL OF THEM. I love the people who are like-minded, I love the people who think differently, I love the people whose lives are a mess and struggle, I love the people who are successful and I understand, and want you to understand, that EVERYONE makes mistakes. And love is about forgiveness. Love is about acceptance.
However, forgiveness and acceptance are not a carte blanche. Neither are hate and anger.
When someone loves a person, or a place, and a horrible mistake is made (or what you perceive to be a horrible mistake), it hurts. At its extreme, it causes a broken heart. And so my loves, when we voted Trump into office, my heart broke, and the hearts of a lot of people who also love our country. For me, it's not because I hate Trump. Trump is what he is and he has a place under my umbrella of love for humans, but, again, that doesn't mean he can do or say or act however he wants and I will stand by and watch, continually forgiving and accepting without making a move to effect change. Not when he takes a position of leadership in our government.
Now, a lot of people feel like it's too late, he's elected. We should have done something beforehand, what's the point in rallying or protesting or speaking out now. We're not going to change anything. We should just sit quietly and let him do his thing.
So here's what I believe.
Article [I] (Amendment 1 - Freedom of expression and religion) 13
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Our democratic government is set-up "by the people, for the people". As "the people" we have a responsibility to make our voices heard when we feel our government is moving in a direction that, collectively, we cannot tolerate. Respecting the president-elect and protesting against the abhorrent statements he has made and ideas he is propagating, are two completely different things.
And so I will stand in solidarity with everyone who feels oppressed by Trump's statements and those of his constituents. I will ask you to stand beside me, and speak out against acts of hatred and violence. I will ask that you walk or march beside me in peaceful, respectful protest of the words and ideas that have struck fear into the hearts of so many Americans. But most of all, I will ask you to follow your own hearts, and do whatever you feel is the right thing to do.
If we can help Trump see just how many Americans feel hurt and marginalized by his words and threatened actions, and he cares about doing a good job as President, then he will have to take responsibility for the things he says. And if the only thing we accomplish is that he stops and thinks before he speaks, we have made progress. And the President-elect is not the only one watching. All across America, and the world at large, we need to send the message that millions of us are not okay with his rhetoric. That millions of us care about one another despite any number of factors that make us the amazing and beautiful people that we are. I'm not going to list them for fear of leaving some group out, but you know who they are.
If children can get suspended from your school for repeating the words of the President-elect, it is incumbent upon me to act. Not by spreading more violence, more hate and more intolerance but by working to support and promote a dialogue and atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding among anyone and everyone who is willing to engage in such.
So, my loves, let's talk. Let's talk, and let's remember to love everyone. Let's lend our strength to positive and peaceful civic actions and show the world exactly what this country is made of. Let's be Americans and show our love for America by exercising our Constitutional rights. Whatever we do, let's not choose now to be silent and hope for the best.