I just want to say — you know — can we all get along?
Please don’t do this.
I know how it feels. And it’s in my nature to fight, too. I want so badly to lash out. To scream at America, “What are you thinking!?” To hit something, to break something, to burn it down. To make it hurt because pain is better than powerless.
Please don’t do this. Because hate can’t defeat hate.
Tuesday night, when the results were becoming obvious, my teenaged daughter emerged from her bedroom – this occurrence itself a minor miracle – and curled up in my lap. I could tell she was holding back tears. I guess Dad’s shoulder is always a safe place to cry. There was really nothing else to do. I wrapped my arms around her and let her sob her fears into my shoulder, brushed the hair from her face as she explained to me how she was scared for her future. Not in some vague way, either. My daughter and many of her friends face the prospect of losing real rights, hard-won freedoms given by people who lost their lives to gain.
I assure you, with Donald Trump’s smug grin on my television and my daughter weeping in my arms – the hate in my heart was real, and it was intense.
“Can we, can we get along? Can we stop making it horrible for the older people and the kids? And… I mean we’ve got enough smog in Los Angeles let alone to deal with setting these fires and things… it’s just not right – it’s not right. And it’s not going to change anything.”
Please don’t do this. Please don’t take to the streets in anything other than love.
Remember how we felt when Barack Obama was running for President, and we heard the voices of our friends and neighbors, their fears and irrationality and the awful statements they made? Did any of it make a difference, in the end?
Go out and make your voice heard.
Carry signs. Make speeches, write blog posts, make films and political art and make sure that this new administration knows how you feel. It may not matter, but it may. Focus on the issues. If you feel the need to march, then take to the streets. But this can’t be about a man. While my daughter cried in my arms, I told her this: America is not about one man, no matter how wrong or how determined he is to accomplish wrong. America is bigger than any of us, bigger than all of us, and so are the issues at hand. Donald Trump didn’t invent racism or sexism or homophobia or bad tax policy. He’s the choice of people who are racist and sexist and homophobic and antigovernment. You could force Trump from office before he’s even taken the oath, and the problems of society will remain. Drinking the hot tea of impeachment will not cure the common cold of society’s ills.
We’ll get our justice; they’ve won the battle, but they haven’t won the war.
Tell your stories, and make it personal.
Ask them to come and sit on your porch, to walk around your neighborhood and see that urban life is not a warzone, that black folks don’t live in Hell. Introduce them to the principal of an inner-city high school, who attended that same school and lived in that same community and brought his education and his talent back to help other kids. Bring him to the small business owners and the Union carpenters and the caterers and the veterans and the people who make a living by being good, decent people and outstanding parents. Take him to your drugstore and let the single-mom who worked her way through pharmacy school while raising twins show them how Obamacare made their community’s medicine affordable.
I often tell people that I wasn’t able to engage for LGBTQ rights until a good friend made it personal for me. People connect when you show them a real person affected by their beliefs or their political views. Introduce a Conservative to a gay couple with three adopted sons who are thriving now that they’re in a permanent home. I personally invite them to my church to meet my gay, married pastor.
You cannot combat hate by casting stones. Abuse is no way to win over your oppressor. Ask yourself: are you willing to listen while someone is beating you down? Or will you blindly oppose your abuser? Nobody should accept abuse. But behaving like your oppressor will not make them stop – it merely gives them an excuse to treat you worse, and justification for their own actions.
We’ll get our day in court and that’s all we want.
Please don’t do this.
Please don’t talk about faithless electors and Electoral College rebellions and burning down the system. The system that doesn’t work for you when you lose is the same system that propels you to wins. This is the system. We all knew the rules.
Remember that part about America being bigger than all of us?
What is the America you want to leave for your children? For 240 years we have chosen our leaders and accepted the results of our method. It was just last week that we were all talking about the damage to our democracy of one man who may not accept the results of an election. Now we’re all over social media talking about ways to overturn the results? How quickly that mirror turns. And what good would it really do? You can legislate how the government behaves, but no law can rule the heart of a man.
The Union comes first. For America to be the last, greatest hope of mankind, the Union must be preserved at all costs. Our Founders knew we were not perfect, and likely would never be. But they set before us a goal, a substitute for a God-head of government. An ideal. To form an ever-more-perfect Union, in the name of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, dedicated to the proposition that government of, by and for the people shall never, ever perish from this earth. To ask to revisit the rules, now that we’re in the off-season – that’s a fair request. But to insist that the rules must be unfair and overturned because you don’t like the results is childish and damaging to the institution we are all working to perfect.
We all can get along – we just gotta, we gotta. I mean, we’re all stuck here for a while, let’s, you know let’s try to work it out, let’s try to beat it, you know, let’s try to work it out.
Please don’t do this. We’ve worked so hard to build this Union, too hard to tear it down over one man, when one man is so irrelevant to the task at hand. Nothing changed on Tuesday – our nation is exactly the same, our struggle is the same as it was on Monday. There are no more and no fewer racists and sexists and homophobes, and there are no more or fewer laws or rules. It’s still exactly fifty miles from Selma to Montgomery. And we’re still strong, and we’re still right.