Peace. Love. Hope. Strength. Solidarity. Persistence.

Peace, Hope, Love. Do not despair. (Or rather, feel free to work through any disappointment and despair, but then progress to more productive thoughts.) Let us be the leaders we need, those that can have compassion, can share with others, can fight for our rights and freedoms and defend the rights and freedoms of others. Let us be positive and willing to live in this world, talking with our family, friends, and neighbors; discussing divisive issues in a civil manner, and trying to see where the other person is coming from regarding a divisive issue, and then also standing beside each other in strength and solidarity where we agree.

It is difficult, to be sure – there are many issues that have two (or more) “sides” to them where no side is completely in the wrong. How do we work through these things and come to a conclusion aside from “agree to disagree”? I say we need to keep talking. Try to understand why each person has the view they do, and see where you can agree with some or all of their points while pointing out your own concerns, and how those concerns run counter to the other view, even though you see and respect that view, too. Perhaps we can come to agreement on how to move forward in a way that is for the benefit of all, and incorporates the ideas of both those “sides.”

Above all, please do not immediately jump into an “Us” vs. “Them” mindset. Even if someone is screaming their opposing view in your face – they came to that view through their own experiences and knowledge in this world. Perhaps you can learn something from them. Perhaps you can eventually teach them something about how you came to your view. But if you immediately jump to a “Oh s/he is one of THEM,” then nothing will ever be accomplished except division and negativity.

Let us all try to come together.

Two of my friends expressed sentiments regarding Donald Trump winning the presidential election that I’d like to share (I’ve gotten their permission):

From Jessi Mae:

I can’t help but feel angry at people who spent this campaign talking about how they were going to hold their noses and vote this year. We needed hope and optimism, like we had with Obama. What we got was Donald Trump as president.

But it is done now, and we can’t change the past. I’m going to let myself be angry and upset, but only for a little while. We have things to do.

Please, let’s just love each other a little bit more. Let’s show the bullies of the world what we can do when we lift each other up, rather than tearing each other down. Let’s lie a little less. Let’s not be afraid to be a little vulnerable.

Now, our jobs are more important than ever. We must be the change we NEED to see in this world. Our children are watching.

From Liam O’Shea:

Well, I didn’t vote for him, but we’ve managed to chose Trump as the next President. Personally, while I don’t think there’s a nuclear holocaust in the offing, i do feel we’re likely to regress in some key areas (science, education, environment, civil rights), but there may still be room for some good to occur, and hey, i could always be way wrong (but i don’t think i am).

This result really shouldn’t be a surprise. During the democratic primary, one of the big talking points was that there was no likely scenario in which Clinton beats Trump. The view was that only Sanders could do it. Democrats chose Hilary, and that narrative suddenly changed to Trump has no path to 270. That new narrative persisted until last week, when all of a sudden, there’s a very narrow gap in the polling numbers.

I still don’t see any coherent policy from President-Elect Trump, and I honestly don’t believe he understands how government actually works. That could mean the first two years of his presidency are mired in learning how things are done and sounding out policy. That might actually work to our benefit as a nation – if only one thing can get done at a time, then judging fallout from new policy should be a little easier, which could make Presidential policy course corrections easier (or more easily highlight the need for changes at Mid-Term)

Depending on who you talk to, this election is either a ringing endorsement of Democracy (when everyone gets out to vote, the corrupt political establishment can be overcome), or it can paint democracy in a very damning light (Look what happens when everyone is given an equal say in how everything is done – a lunatic gets elected by appealing to the fears and divisive nature of society), and I honestly think there’s truth in both sides of that argument.

Going back to my statement from yesterday, if you aren’t content with the results of yesterday’s election, then begin today the process of identifying your upcoming incumbents. Learn the platforms. If you come across negative press (or really positive press even) citing a sound bite or quoting only a small portion of a talk, go looking for the source. Read the speech transcript, read their opinion papers, etc. Get to know what is going on around you and look for opportunities to change.

In the meantime, your countrymen-and-women are not your enemies. They aren’t sub human, or scum, or slime, for holding different opinions or having differing priorities when it comes to education, healthcare, or social policy. It also isn’t ok to lord over someone that some other candidate was elected. Be Adult about this stuff.

Tone down the “I’m leaving” rhetoric. Emigration only helps lock in whatever path we’re now on.

For better or worse, this is now the world we live in. Democrats, pick your battles. Republicans, be true to the citizens that elected you and those that didn’t, and remember that our founders were agents of compromise, if nothing else.

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