I don’t know where to begin. The past nearly 72 hours have been an intense struggle. I’ve felt rage, intense sadness, and the feeling I’ve condemned for the entirety of this election: fear. Like your other supporters, I am stunned by the outcome announced early Wednesday morning. I can only suppose that the hot hypothesis of the moment is true: like others, I was living in a cocoon of liberal eliteness. I was blind to or simply in denial of the depth of racism and sexism that pervade this nation. I thought I shared the same core values as my neighbors, friends, and those with whom I share a demographic. But I am awake now.
I only have a vague idea of how to move forward from here, but I know it needs to start with this: a personal apology to you. I felt proud and excited and enthusiastic to vote for you on Tuesday, but I did not work on your campaign. Like many other white women in my geographic and socioeconomic pool, I stayed mostly silent on social media throughout the election. Fear of ruffling feathers and getting too “political” in a space that has become mainly dedicated to narcissistic photo sharing seemed unwise — against the rules even. But here is what I failed to acknowledge to myself and here is where I failed you: politics are inherently personal. And this election was the most deeply personal moment in American politics in my lifetime.
I voted for you because whenever I support a candidate for president, I select the person whose values most align to the ones I choose for myself and my family. My husband and I are white, college-educated, upper middle class Americans who are likely to survive whatever economy the next four years brings. We have a blond-haired, blue eyed 6-year-old son who can safely and confidently walk down any street in America wearing his favorite black hoodie over his head. I’m a stay-at-home-mom/blogger who enjoys yoga class and daily trips to Starbucks. Go ahead and label me the stereotypical white suburban soccer mom. It’s not far from the truth. But this election should not have been about me or even people like me. Our lives are not perfect, but we’re going to be just fine. This election was about all of us together. One United States.
Mr. Trump’s win has taught me quite a lot, beginning with the fact that we must work harder than ever to protect human rights in this country. I can only imagine what it must feel like to be among the groups insulted and condemned by the bigot we have elected to the nation’s highest office. As the wife of someone with a disability, I still have only a limited understanding of the oppression, hate, and intolerance many Americans experience on a daily basis. The stories of violence and bullying throughout this election cycle have been enough to make my skin crawl.
I can’t change the outcome of this election, but here is what I pledge to you from this day forward:
To raise my voice — in person and on social media. I will not tread gently for fear of upsetting people’s delicate sensibilities. I will not keep hidden the values and ethics that define me as person. I have no shame about what I stand for, and therefore, no reason to be a coward.
I will put my money where my mouth is. I will not support businesses or organizations that forward Trump’s agenda. Each time I’ve been debilitatingly upset since Wednesday, I have made donations to organizations such as Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign. It’s not much, but it’s a start.
I will not waste my time trying to convert the trolls and haters of the internet. I will have face-to-face conversations, particularly with those who are poorly acquainted with the human rights issues that plague this country.
And most importantly, I will NEVER normalize this stunning upset in American politics. I will never shrug my shoulders and begrudgingly accept a president who boasts about grabbing women’s genitalia and illegally evading taxes. It’s offensive. It’s downright sickening. And we must not allow our reactions to his vitriol fade or deaden in the months and years ahead. We must stay engaged and enraged, allowing that rage to fuel the positive changes we wish to see in the world.
I will do better in the future, Secretary Clinton, because the world cannot afford for one more white woman to stand quietly on the sidelines. It’s time to get in the game.