Not My Country: A Call for Inclusivity and Peace

Regardless of your opinion on the recent election results, it is undeniable that countless individuals are feeling marginalized and afraid. You may believe these feelings are justified, and you may believe they aren’t. Frankly, your opinion on the justifiability of these feelings is entirely irrelevant. People are hurting. People are scared. People feel like their lives are no longer valued, and that is not okay with me. I will not stand for this. Not in my country.

I don’t care who you voted for or how you feel about the different candidates and party platforms. The election is over. Donald Trump will be our next president. And there are people out there who are heartbroken because they believe his being elected signals disrespect and even neglect toward the lives of certain minority groups. It isn’t my duty to critique these people or analyze whether their feelings are valid. It is my duty to stand by them as fellow Americans.

In my country, we believe all men and women are created equal. We believe that each person has certain unalienable rights, and that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. I have friends who are looking at the election results and thinking, “Wow, the majority of this country doesn’t believe I deserve these rights." Right now, as a country, it is our job to show them that they do. They deserve those rights as much as any of us. This is the foundation on which our country depends.

We often refer to voting as our “civic duty” as though it is the only form of political participation granted to us as United States citizens. However, our duty to our country doesn’t end once the ballots are counted up. The president is only one person. We the People have the responsibility and privilege of doing all that we can to create and perpetuate a culture of acceptance, diversity, liberty, and life.

As a United States citizen, this is my responsibility. I will not allow a single black person to feel as though his or her life doesn’t matter simply because of his or her skin color. I will not allow a single woman to feel as though she is worth less than her male counterpart. I will not allow people with disabilities feel as though they are any less capable of achieving greatness. I will not let immigrants feel as though they’re any less American, and I will not let members of the queer community fear for their safety. This is the greatest country in the world. I will not allow this fear and hatred to overcome a country that has been a beacon of hope for the rest of the world for so many years. This is your responsibility too.

If you are a conservative who voted for Trump based on policy issues, this is on you. It’s your job to do everything you can to perpetuate a culture of love and acceptance, because many people feel as though your vote was one for misogyny and racism. It’s your job to be pro-life, and that includes poor lives, black lives, disabled lives, and immigrant lives. It’s your job to show people that your values are not those of hatred, but those of love.

If you voted “against Hillary," not for Trump, this is on you. It’s up to you to ensure that our country doesn’t adopt the values that you found to be so despicable about Hillary. It’s up to you to promote integrity and honesty and humility, to show it to your sons and daughters, to make this a country that you’re proud to live in.

If you voted for Hillary, this is on you. You need to embody everything that you were so passionate about leading up to the election. Don’t act like the country is just going down the drain because of this. All of the things that Hillary said during her campaign that inspired you so much, don’t let them be diminished to mere political banter. Just because we don’t have a female president doesn’t mean we don’t have a country of strong, smart, powerful females. You claimed you were running against misogyny and racism and bigotry, so you need to continue to do so, even if the end goal is no longer presidency.

If you didn’t vote or if you voted third party, this is on you. You didn’t have the conscience to support either candidate, so it’s crucial that you continue to act on your conscience. Act on your conscience in everything you do, being as loving and inclusive as possible. If you didn’t like the options you were given, work as hard as possible to make the ideals you value the norm, so that your children will have the options you didn’t.

If you live in the United States of America, this is on you. We are a country by the people, of the people, and for the people. The president isn’t the sole contributor to the cultural and political climates. It’s up to us. This isn’t a political issue or a partisan issue. It’s an American issue. Nobody is going to feel like his or her life doesn’t matter. Not in my country. 

 

 

Images courtesy of Quartz, DOGO News and Fortune.com.