As the shock dissipates and we try to move forward, we long for the ground to stop shaking, but it won’t. With every headline and every choice, Trump confirms all our worst fears, rolling back values the world has spent the better part of the last century working so hard to build; respect, tolerance, open-mindedness, security, community and alliances – all are being done away with in one fell swoop.
It looks bleak, yes, but there is no reason to despair, quite the contrary. Now is the time to put to work the hard earned lessons of the past, to show that the world has indeed come a long way in understanding the essential work of protecting minorities, communities and the environment. These will all have targets on their backs and it will be our job to protect them.
As impressive and generous as it was to hear President Obama urging the country to come together behind the president-elect, that is his job. Any other response would have been irresponsible. The response of the people must be different, yet the same. Ours must echo that of calm and respect for the choice of a democratic election, yet bring to bear the instruments of peaceful yet forceful resistance. It will be essential, while doing this, to insist on the high road and not give in to the anger and aggression that brought us to where we are today.
Vast differences and great divides – economic, social and cultural – are tearing apart not only the Untied States but many countries across Europe and a lethal cocktail of blind eyes, laziness, lack of understanding and – most devastatingly – opportunistic and deceitful politicians has allowed the ugliest voices among us to rise to the top. These voices must be drowned out by the voices of reason, hope and respect. We must stand strong, refuse to normalize and make sure that the ground never ceases to shake under the Trumps of the world.
To quote Anthony Romero, executive director of The American Civil Liberties Union: “Democracy should be messy; it should be loud, it should be hotly contested. There is no right we’ve had in our country [……] that’s been granted to us, it’s been taken and this is not a time for us to be afraid about demanding action on the rights and the issues that we care about.”