How We Can Move Forward | Post-Election Thoughts

“I haven’t been able to focus all week. Words, polls, and maps swirl behind my eyes colored red and blue and the sounds of doomsday newscasters pound in my ears. My heart hasn’t stopped racing since Tuesday night. I’ve cried, felt hopeless, felt numb, achy, and everything in between. This must be what grief feels like. And yet… The world still turns. The sun still rises and sets, and the stars still whirl in the vast dome of the sky. From space, we’re inconsequential, but I’m still scared. Still terrified.

 

For the first time ever, I feel like I’m not safe in my country. Even when the bombs went off at the Boston Marathon, even despite the hundreds of school shootings, even despite global warming and god knows how much other crap that’s gone down, I’ve felt safe and at home here in the United States. Now though, something that I’ve taken for granted has been torn away from me. I no longer can safely say that this country believes in progress. I can no longer safely say that anyone can find a home here in the United States. I can no longer stand up and say that this country will accept you no matter who you are, because we have proved on a ridiculous scale that that is not true.

 

I am a 17 year old female, living with mental illness, and I’m gay. Somehow all of those things seem to have come around and slammed me right in the face. I missed voting in the election by 8 months, which made me feel beyond powerless. I missed my chance to vote for Hillary Clinton, and I missed the chance to make my voice heard.”

 

I wrote this just after the election results came out, and it’s been a little more than a week since then as I sit to write this second part. Things have calmed down, kind of. Most of the protests seem to be over, and people are mostly focused on starting the work that’s going to take us through the next four years. Since then, I’ve talked to friends and family all over the world, and one of the only things that’s made me feel better is being able to share my thoughts and feelings with other people, and hear what they have to say as well. The biggest question that’s been on my mind is what can we do here at Holderness to ensure that this election brings us closer together, not further apart?

 

A few of us sat down with Ms. Sparkman on Tuesday night and talked about it, and the verdict was this: We need to be brave enough to tell our own stories. Each of us was affected by what happened last week in a different way, and some of us were affected more strongly than others. Friends of mine are fearing for themselves, for their families, and for everything that they’ve worked to create here. They’re worried that they’re going to lose their right to marry, to be at each other’s bedsides were something to happen, to even use the bathroom that they feel most comfortable using.

 

We are going to have to have the courage to say how we feel, no matter what side we’re on, and for those stories to be welcome, we’re going to have to be even more receptive and kind than ever before. We have to be open to ideas and stories no matter who they come from. We are going to have to come together more strongly than ever before in order to bridge the divide that this election created. We have to let each other no that no matter what you feel right now, your opinions are real. Your feelings are valid, and we at Holderness want to hear them So share them. Privately if you want need to, but share them. The community will be a better place for knowing your story.