For the next four years, you and I are going to work together. We’re not going to move to Canada. We’re not going to drink ourselves into oblivion. We’re not going to crawl back into bed with the covers pulled over our heads, the doors locked, and the blinds shut tight while other human beings in this country step outside, suffering and fearing for their lives.
We are going to look forward and take specific, focused actions to continue pushing our cities, states, and country in the right direction.
As a citizen, I am going to push and vote for politicians to take action on climate change, as it is the greatest existential threat the human race has ever faced. As a journalist, I am going to listen to and watch out for the people of color in my city who face violence and threats, sometimes obvious and sometimes hidden.
As a man, I am going to throw off any hesitations I previously had to question and challenge my male friends, including myself, when they express thoughts or actions that are harmful to women. As a human being, I am going to place my body in between those who are vulnerable and those who wish to do harm to them.
As a student of philosophy, I am going to listen to friends of mine who voted for Donald Trump and try to understand their frustrations, their desires, and their perspectives; As a white person, it is my job to try to bridge that gap, to open those channels of communication so that such a disastrous election might be avoided in the future.
The future has rarely been less clear than it is now. I have no idea what Trump plans to accomplish or is even capable of accomplishing. His own statements have been self-contradicting and vague, wrapped in layers of sarcasm, irony, and outright falsehoods. I do not know how our Republican-led Congress will treat those statements.
I am sure of very little in this moment, but I am sure of one thing: No matter how well or poorly life goes, the only thing to do is push and fight for what we believe is right.
In the words of American politician and education reformer Horace Mann, “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for mankind.”
Reach Podcast Editor Alex Buell at firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: @BruellAlex