Fifty-three percent. That's the percentage of white American women with college degrees who did not vote for Donald Trump. Over half of us woke up Wednesday morning (or, if you're like me, watched it all unfold in the middle of the night via the blue glow of your phone) feeling shocked.
My first Facebook post I made at 3:15 a.m. read: "All I can think of is #Kanye2020. Clearly, it's no longer something we can joke about."
The hours and days following were troublesome. I worried about my kids; about what they'd hear at school. I openly disagreed with friends on Facebook, and even with my spouse at home. I was drinking more and sleeping less. Overall, everything just felt yucky.
Two days after the election, as I was getting ready for work, I traded in my usual comfy booties and sheer lip gloss for a pair of heels and brighter shade of lipstick. It was time to suck it up, buttercup!
For those of us disappointed with the outcome of last week's election, we have a choice. We can either complain, worry, and remain stagnate or carry on with a greater perspective and a vow to take action. I hope you'll join me in the latter. Following are some tips how.
Donald Trump will be our president for at least the next four years. (It's almost therapeutic just typing it.) I don't know anyone personally who is demonstrating or rioting, but I'm not so sure there's much value in that at this point, at least while emotions are running so hot. As of now, little has changed. I'm still packing lunches every morning for my kids, enjoying walks in the woods with my puppy and getting a paycheck. Life is OK.
You're not going to change their minds—nor will they change yours.
I have some really smart and kind friends and family who voted for Clinton. I have some really smart and kind friends and family who voted for Trump. I think most of us can agree that none of us had stellar options to choose from, and ultimately we had to go with where we weighed more heavily. You'll never agree with others on everything, but don't be afraid to stand up for what you believe in.
Care for those closest to you.
My husband and I don't always agree on politics, and we've certainly had our fair share of disagreements. But I can tell you one thing: I won't forget that morning when he brought me breakfast and said sincerely, "I know this is hard for you, honey." You don't have to completely understand or agree with someone to still be kind and empathetic. I also used this time to focus more closely on my kids. There was tension everywhere, and we had some good conversations.
Seek out your people.
When you feel passionately about something, regardless of what it is, you feel the need to connect with others like you. That's just human nature. At the end of last week, after vowing I'd no longer talk politics on social media, I sent a group text to those I knew who had similar feelings about the election. A funny meme and a heartfelt thanks turned into a two-hour-long texting exchange that had me laughing so hard my husband asked if I was stoned. Laughter is healing. I even found myself laughing at myself after watching this Saturday Night Live clip, which directly pokes fun at my demographic.
Everyone deserves a chance.
While I will never condone the lack of character our president-elect has displayed in the past, I can only pray he sees the incredible responsibility he now holds—and uses that to do some good. Just because I didn't vote for him doesn't mean I disagree with him on everything. And just as it's important to connect with the like-minded, it's almost more important to seek out those with different opinions. I have a favorite Stephen Covey quote: "Seek first to understand, then be understood." I cannot wish that others would be more open-minded, without doing so myself. Ultimately, when we look for the good in people we're oftentimes surprised.
Stand up. Speak up. Show up.
If this election has taught me anything, it's that I need to take a greater interest in politics, policy and how elections work. If there's something I believe strongly about, then I need to get involved, preferably at the local level. And to the young woman out there, we especially need you to step up. Educate yourself and become more involved. Get your news from sources other than Facebook. And lastly, be grateful you live in a country that gifts you the opportunities to make a difference.
So until 2020, when we do it all over again, I wish for everyone—regardless of how you voted—a healing nation, an open heart and opportunities embraced.
Written by Jill Carroll, marketing manager, West Michigan Woman magazine.
The opinions of our blog contributors are their own, and West Michigan Woman—while not necessarily agreeing with all opinions—appreciates giving readers (and our staff) a voice. Is there something you'd like to write about? Contact [email protected] with your ideas.