Monday, November 7, 2016

The real American leaders

I've been quite honest that this election has really worn me down. No one asked, but I'll freely admit my vote is going to Hillary Clinton. This is not an enthusiastic vote, but I am confident that I'm making the right choice in choosing the candidate who professes to hold similar values to my own. I know that in Ohio I'm truly just a blue drop in a red bucket, and that just reinforces my sense that, no matter how much I love this state, I don't really belong here. Yet, here I am. These people are my friends, my family, and my neighbors. This is what I have to work with.

The lesson to be learned from SNL's cold open is that we all feel gross about this election. People ARE hurt, and people ARE lashing out. No matter how much this appears to be a sick re-enactment of Hitler's rise to power in Nazi Germany, the decisions by our government have put the American people in this position to begin with. People are thinking with the clarity of a wounded animal, and the fact that Donald Trump is being hailed as some kind of savior is evidence that many are willing to gnaw off their arm if it means some kind of change. While I can be certain the change Trump will bring is going to be disastrous, I can sympathize with some of those voting for him. While I am looking at them saying "No, no, no, please don't do this to us," they're looking at me with my little oval colored in beside Hillary Clinton's name saying "No, no, no, please don't do this to us."

What we need to understand about this election is that this has been one huge cry for help from the American people. While the wounds may be different, we're all united in this moment--the morning before this historic for all the wrong reasons presidential election--by our incredible pain. No matter which way the votes fall, half of this county is going to be left hopeless and afraid. And that's where we, as a people, need to come together and take care of each other.

We got here because we let our government divide us, and it's clear with this election our government isn't going to be the thing that unites us. If we want to have our country collectively stop weeping, it's the people who are going to have to do it. Tomorrow, the message is going to be sent to slightly less than half of America that our votes, our constitutionally secured voices, don't matter, but our actions always do. I challenge you to use your resources, whether it be money or time, to help ease the burdens of those around you. Can you carve out one Saturday a month to volunteer at the local food bank or homeless shelter? Can you actually send a donation back to that veteran's group that keeps sending you address labels? Instead of sitting around and waiting for our government to start making America better, YOU start making it better. Fear and cynicism of our fellow Americans only perpetuate the situation. All that can heal America now is compassion, love, and a little elbow grease.

We looked to our leaders to do the right thing and our government has failed us. We are our own last hope. No matter who wins the presidency, it's time for America to realize that we have the power to be our own savior. We are the real leaders, and it's time we get to work on our country.