People will tell us to accept it. They will tell us to move on, that we will stay united as a country regardless of who is president. They’ll say it’s not alright to keep bemoaning this defeat.
Don’t lose hope, but don’t for a second believe we are not validated in our misery. This isn’t the sadness that comes after losing. It’s not comparable to when your baseball team bombs the World Series and you’re devastated, but eventually you move on to, “We’ll get ‘em next season.”
Presidential candidates are not baseball teams, and we are not sore losers. We are in mourning.
Not all of us were in love with the idea of a Hillary Clinton presidency, but we at least accepted it as an absolute necessity. Clinton had to be the president because if she wasn’t, the most powerful seat in the country – and possibly the world – would be filled by a racist, sexist, xenophobic, manipulative man with no respect for America’s citizens. We weren’t rooting for anyone; we just knew a win for Trump would be a loss for everyone, not just Democrats.
So we fought. We wrote words and shared articles and tried to reason with the other side. Whether or not we rallied behind Clinton, we at least mobilized against fear and hatred. We thought it would be enough.
We were almost certain we would come out on top on Nov. 8, because the polls said we should be certain. There was so little chance of her losing. Her path to victory was clean and easy, while his seemed to be littered with difficulty.
We soon realized, however, the extent to which we were misled by polls and data. By nighttime, we knew something had gone terribly wrong when the chances of winning flipped in the election forecasts. Our hearts plummeted into our stomachs, and we prayed for an upset. None came.
We went to sleep in a stunned state of misbelief and awoke as if from a nightmare. We checked our phones to make sure it was real, and it was. We laid in bed in a stupor, wondering how we could be expected to eat and work and focus on anything but our own despair.
It is OK for us to be angry. But we should also remember that we are not helpless. We may not have a strong voice in government anymore, but we have a voice among our peers. We can call out sexism in our male friends. We can start rational discussions among our family members about what is means to be casually racist. We can hold each other accountable.
We are not liberal because we vote blue. We are liberal because we care about people who are struggling because of their race, or their religion, or their gender or sexual identity. We care about making the United States equal for everyone, and we see a future where this is possible. Don’t give up on this future. Don’t stop fighting. Because as Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”