I realize injustice exists all around us -- every day -- in small ways and in big. And, trust me, I feel so much of those instances, so often. But this one? The November 8 loss experienced not only by Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, but by anyone who had hopped on her bandwagon of progress and optimism? For me, this one has hurt the most. This one loss represents the single biggest dose of "life isn't fair" I've ever seen administered.
In an effort to see what is left once we pick away the rubble, here's what I unearthed the morning after. And it's actually quite simple: none of us needs permission from a leader who espouses inclusivity and kindness in order to go ahead and live a life that espouses inclusivity and kindness. Sure, it's nice when it happens -- and thankfully, I live in a country where we actually do enjoy this perk -- but we don't actually "need" it.
In the United States, the beacon that was -- and, most heart-wrenchingly of all, the one that could've been -- has indisputably been replaced, at least temporarily, by a potential malignancy.
But the operative word is "potential.'
Hope didn't lose. It just didn't quite win on the ballot.
Regardless of the fact that U.S. polling stations are now no more than the dusty relics of a sad day in history, I choose to keep the "Stronger Together" message as an ongoing, ever-present beacon. This house -- and by that, I mean, both the one I live in and the one that lives in me -- holds the space and admiration and compassion for anyone of integrity, regardless of how they define their God and regardless of who they choose to love. For anyone brave enough to flee tyranny. For anyone living life the best way they know how despite disability. For anyone of any gender who has the deep desire to persevere in the face of obstacles, and so on.
No, life isn't fair. But what would be significantly less fair is if we were to move on from this having learned nothing from the last 18 months. Hope didn't lose. It just didn't quite win on the ballot within the questionable parameters of the U.S. electoral system. (Remember, despite the outcome: Hope had the majority of votes, after all.)
But it's not just about counting the votes, it's about counting on our values. And values don't need to be tabulated and projected on a screen at CNN headquarters. Values we get to hang onto the morning after.
As a global citizen, I don't need an oddly coiffed narcissist who lives in a garish tower bearing his own name, belittles any woman who's "not a 10," makes fun of the disabled, publicly jokes about shooting people, purchases six-foot images of himself with charitably donated funds, calls an entire ethnicity rapists and house-cleaners (and I certainly mean no disrespect to those people whose profession it is to help others keep their home lives in order... he, on the other hand, did), and encourages people to punch those who disagree with him in the face -- to serve as my moral compass. I will quite happily be by own True North.
On November 9, in between my own fits of tears, I told my three-year-old daughter JouJou and my one-year-old daughter Birdie that nothing means more to their mom than education, opportunity, authentic leadership and kindness (above rant aside), and that we will live those values on extra-high volume (above rant aside) from here on in as a tribute to what happened the night before.
In her concession speech, Hillary Clinton told her supporters that they represent "the best of America." And she's right -- her voters are the ones who possess the shared values our own Prime Minister Justin Trudeau referred to in his official statement when he spoke of our relationship with our southern neighbours.
But her message extends beyond "the best of America." Because when you're a beacon of hope, the whole world sees it. Those of us who are big enough to not live in fear saw it and were drawn to it. And so now it's up to us to light our own metaphoric wicks and to ensure that light -- and not a malignancy -- spreads and spreads.
That's the conscious choice I uncovered beneath the shrapnel, on the morning after the night I realized that sometimes life just isn't fair.
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