I have had a headache for the last few days now. Like so many of my family and friends, my emotions have ranged from disbelief, to anger, to fear, to sadness, to hope. Like so many across the country and the world, I could not believe my eyes when I saw that Donald J. Trump was our newest President-elect, and the 45th President of the United States of America.

I can see how he may have appealed to the voters. This country has been on the brink of a political revolution; people are tired of seeing the same self-interest politicians running and winning office. The fact that he did not win the popular vote but did win the electoral vote and thus the coveted position as President should be an indicator as to why a political revolution has been brewing in our country. Donald Trump pandered to peoples’ thoughts and desires – he is not a career politician, bought by Wall Street and large corporations; he preyed played on peoples’ fears and hopes; he spoke directly to the people on the issues at hand, honestly and candidly and with no fear of repercussion, even if he didn’t have a plan to elaborate on. But that was enough, that was all he needed, and as an American woman it should come as no surprise to me then that a man with no background in politics or political credibility, with no plan of action, and clearly with no filter, was deemed more qualified to earn the title of Commander-in-Chief against a woman who has spent the better part of her life in law and politics. Of course, by no means am I saying that the DNC did the American people any favors by selecting Hillary Rodham Clinton as their nominee; her closet is a graveyard. Surely, if they absolutely had to select a female nominee, there were better options. Perhaps Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Duckworth, or maybe even Condoleezza Rice, considering the movie equivalent of 2016 would be Alice falling down the rabbit hole, where everything gets turned on its head. However, in this particular election, I never once found a reason to believe that she would damage this country more than he would. She is a seasoned politician, with a solid plan of action for the issues at hand. She has dedicated her adult life to fighting terrorism and working to empower women and children. She has a deep understanding of the way this country works. Alas, this was not enough for her to win the presidency; however, as far as women go, while Clinton may have lost, women certainly didn’t. Furthermore, the media outlets and so-called “pundits” never did the American people any favors, either, by constantly projecting her success while disregarding Trump and his campaign, and worst of all, by not accounting for and reporting on the quiet majority that was in favor of Trump.

One of our greatest privileges as American citizens is the right to vote, and the people have voted: Donald J. Trump. Since his election became finalized however, we have not been the United States of America. Not united. Protests have begun all over the country, and the hashtag #NotMyPresident has been trending. Flags are being burned in cities and campuses across the nation. To those who are participating in these events, I implore you: please, stop. Ranting on social media and declaring this isn’t the country you want to live in will do nothing, and rioting in the streets, destroying infrastructure, violence against those whose opinions you don’t agree with, and burning the flag is disgraceful.

Donald J. Trump will be our next President, but how we react to this is what will either allow this nation to continue to strive for greatness, or completely tear it apart. Like so many, I am appalled that a man whose entire presidential campaign was rooted in racism, sexism, xenophobia, fear mongering, and bigotry is now our President-elect. However, I have to believe that not all those who voted for him share those views, but simply want to change our political landscape with new, fresh ideas regarding issues such as the economy, education, and gun control. And while I may not agree with all of those views, part of what makes America such a great nation, entrenched in rich culture and history, is the differences of opinion which we all have. We are blessed to live in a country where we can voice those opinions and have the ability to vote. To bully and lay blame on those who did not vote your way (white people, people of color, lesbians or gays, third-party voters, etc.) makes you just as bad as him. To diminish the value of those who voted for him, to paint them all as racists or ignorant or uneducated, makes you just as bad as him. I am not saying that those who think exactly like him are correct; in fact, in recent days we have seen the negative effect Trump’s America can have, and I am just as scared and distraught as so many other Americans are. But remember: just as you voted for your candidate with conviction and determination, so did they.

We can accept this election – we must accept this election – and pick ourselves up, dust off our shoulders, and work together to ensure that his racist, sexist, bigoted, xenophobic views do not take precedence these next four years. We must be kind to one another. Our children will certainly not learn from him to be accepting and compassionate to others. We must come together and join our neighbors, friends, families, and citizens across the country to peacefully and firmly allow our voices to be heard and demand a change in the political landscape as a nation, not as fractured, violent mobs. It breaks my heart to know that across the country, parents have to explain to their children that they should not bully or belittle others, knowing that the very person leading our country has done just that. It breaks my heart to know that across the country, parents have to explain to their children how much more dangerous this country – their home – can be now because of their skin color or their beliefs, knowing that the very person leading our country is what has led to so many families living in fear. It breaks my heart to know that across the country, women and men of all races and orientation have even more to lose by reporting sexual assault, knowing that the very person leading our country can be blamed for the same crime and still be elected to the highest and most important political office. Now, more than ever, we cannot be divided and let hate win. We must stand together. We must stand together and ensure his vile rhetoric can never take precedence and become a reality. We must stand together, and make sure that the rights for those of a certain race, gender, or sexual orientation we have worked so long and so hard for aren’t taken away. We must stand together and prove to ourselves that our differences (be they religion, race, opinions, sexual orientation, gender, etc.) are important and that we can love and respect each other regardless. We must stand together and not let our friends and families live in their own country in fear. We must stand together, and encourage every young girl or person of color or member of the LGBTQ community or disabled person to pursue their dreams and help them demand equality and let their voices be heard.

I am an Indian, and I am a Hindu, and I am a woman, and I am an American, and I believe in the goodness of the people of this country, because America is already a great country. Most importantly, I truly believe that we can come together and continue to make America great over these next four years. 

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