I was raised in a conservative part of the United States, and I credit both of my parents for instilling in my brother and I nothing but the deepest respect for those of different races, religions, and viewpoints. It is something that I have never thanked either one of them enough for.
The arc of my own journey as a member of the electorate of this country has also previously been marked with both joy and with sadness. I watched with despair when we elected George W. Bush to a second term in office and with elation as we came together to elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden not once but twice.
It was with feelings of horror, confusion, and heartache that I watched our nation choose the path it did earlier this week. A path marked with bigotry, hatred, ignorance, deceit, and selfishness. A path that spurned a woman who I held nothing but the deepest respect and admiration for as my former state senator and who I so desperately hoped I would also be able call my president.
To have witnessed the United States progress so far forward even in my own lifetime only to watch half our country willfully and gladly vote to take such gut wrenching steps backwards was something I did not expect and could not have prepared for. I stepped off a flight back to San Francisco yesterday evening and when I saw that Hillary’s path to the presidency was slipping away, I sat down in the airport and called my Mom and cried. I cried in part because I was scared, but also because for the first time in my life I was forced to confront the fact that our country might not represent the value system and morality I took for granted that it always would.
Whenever I visit our nation’s capitol, I make a point of stopping at the Jefferson Memorial because inscribed on one of the panels of that monument is the following quote,
"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."
Our country was built upon and our constitution drafted around the principle that as humanity progressed forward together, that our laws and institutions should progress forward as well.
Individuals of the same sex deserve the right to marry a loved one. Women deserve the right to control their own bodies and seek an abortion. Families who have spent years here working hard to provide for those that they care about do not deserve to be ripped apart. Our planet and environment desperately need the protections that we have placed upon them.
These are just some of the things that are under threat from a Trump presidency, and that horrifies me.
I still firmly believe in the goodness of the United States and the people of which it is made up. Yesterday evening taught me that it is one thing to profess a love for something you hold dear, but it is another thing altogether to fight for your beliefs. When I think about whether or not I devoted enough of my own time, energy, and resources to Hillary Clinton and her campaign, the answer will always be no. I did what I considered to be the bare minimum in order to assuage my conscious, and that was not nor should it have ever been enough. The feeling of failing my candidate and my country is something that I will carry with me as long as Donald Trump remains in office, and likely for a long time after.
Donald Trump does not and will never stand for what has made this country great. His election to the office of presidency is an insult to the generations that came before us, and I will do everything in my power in the coming years to continue moving our country forward. I refuse to sink to his level and I refuse to let the path upon which he seeks to set us erode my own morality or beliefs.