We Are With Each Other

Subject: We Are With Each Other
From: Someone Who Cares
Date: 12 Nov 2016

I am writing this open letter because frankly I feel that I have sat on the sidelines as an observer for far too long. I am not going to highlight my gender, my level of education, my race, my age, or my political affiliations, as I do not personally believe that any of those factors contribute to whether or not I am a moral or credible individual, and they certainly do not determine whether or not I deserve to have an opinion.

Over the last year, the entire world has been obsessively watching the campaign for the oh-so coveted position of President of the “United” States of America. On voting day, our stomachs were churning, our hearts were racing – and for some of us they were breaking – as results started pouring in.

Now, we are raw. We are exhausted. We are wounded. We are all trying to cope with the new reality of President-Elect Donald Trump. Protests, both violent and peaceful, have broken out across America. People are, justifiably so, scared and angry. But we need to ask ourselves a very important question.

Would things have been different if the American people had chosen Hillary Clinton? I highly doubt it. I mean, things may have been different if Bernie Sanders had been elected, but now is certainly not the time to be focusing energy on what ifs. It is time to focus on what next.

I, unlike many multi-millionaire news anchors, obviously biased political commentators, and pollsters, was not the least bit surprised that Donald Trump won the election. I do not, however, harbor any hatred towards any individuals who fell on either side of the political spectrum in the election. Hatred is a useless emotion. I prefer understanding.

On that note, I have a message for those who are angered at the outcome. You are important. Your voices are important. Your ideas are important. Your happiness is important, and your futures are important. I also have the same message for those who voted for Donald Trump. You are equally important. Your voices are equally important. Your ideas are equally important. Your happiness is equally important, and your futures are equally important. And to everyone who is feeling angry, I believe you are justified in that anger.

We should be angry, and we should all feel complete disgust at what we have witnessed. The media, the pollsters, and the political establishment actually believed that they could think about a population in black and white terms. And I mean that literally. I personally cannot believe that so many people could be so blasé about the media’s use of racialized language in their coverage of the election. I would really like to be able to watch the news, for just one day, without hearing the words “Black”, “White”, “Latino”, “Educated”, or “Uneducated”. As if being born into a circumstance that did not afford you the opportunity to seek higher education means that you are somehow less human. Shame on you – who have been fortunate enough to go to College or University – for failing to show true leadership and compassion to those who have not.

What should anger us more than anything is that so many people who have been promoted to positions of influence actually believed that human beings could be broken down into discrete categories of statistical variables. They also believed, that based on their understanding of human beings as a subset of statistics, they could determine the appropriate course of action to ensure that their preferred candidate would win the election. What we have (unsurprisingly) learned is that human beings are not statistics. What we need to remember now, after listening to people being described as statistics for so long, is that we are all actually just human beings.

Media organizations in particular need to recognize that when you tell people they are different, and continuously highlight those differences, you contribute to divisive politics. So, to the media (both left-leaning and right-leaning) – you owe everyone who has been watching your coverage intently a huge apology for your complicity in the mass distribution of divisive propaganda. You also need to stop fuelling the flames of divisiveness in order to justify your own relevance. I truly hope that you will finally understand that we need influential people like you to become leaders in important conversations about what unites us, instead of what divides us.

At the end of the day, we all just want to be happy. We want to be able to support our families. We want to feel safe in our communities. We want to know that our children are going to have a better future than we did, because we have learned from the past and have worked hard to ensure that we do not repeat the same mistakes twice.

I have heard many people liken the election of Donald Trump to the rise of Hitler. Personally, I think that those people are being a bit melodramatic, but regardless of my personal opinions, we, as human beings, need to somberly remember that Hitler was only able to rise to power because a population was so desperate to escape their present circumstances that they were willing to overlook the horrifying truth of his character in order to ensure a better life for themselves and their families.

I would like to end this letter on a positive, and inspirational note, because contrary to some, I do not believe that the election of Donald Trump means that we have gone backwards as a society. Going backwards is not actually an option – because the past is behind us and all we have to look forward to is the future. I think that this election should be viewed as a reminder of what true democracy and equality means.

I’m sure you will not be surprised if, at this point in my letter, I make reference to one of the most compassionate, optimistic, and truly great Americans of all time. It was Martin Luther King Jr. who said, “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

But, decades later, we continue to judge and classify individuals based on skin colour. So he would tell us “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” And before anyone gets offended, can we all just agree that he meant to include sisters too.