Anyone who knows me will know that I’ve been an unabashed supporter of Hillary Clinton since last year. I see so much of my own life reflected in her journey, and have been on the receiving end of the same criticisms for the duration of my own career in technology: I’m too aggressive, too meek, can’t be trusted, too effusive, not effusive enough, too much an insider, too much an outsider, and oh-can-I-speak-to-your-manager, please?
We are in a moment of extraordinary change, it’s just not the change for which many of us hoped. It’s going to be incredibly easy to give up hope, and allow our sadness and cynicism to take over in the coming days. Of course, I’m incredibly disappointed and sad, writing this in tears, in a lot of pain, and wishing that this election would have had a different outcome.
Late in the night on CNN, Van Jones called this election a “whitelash,” and reminded everyone that there is legitimate need to hold the values of inclusion and justice now even more so as we move forward. I am very afraid, for my own body, for my friends, for the issues I care about, and certainly for the lives of so many who are threatened by an incoming president who campaigned on deportation, building walls, isolationism, xenophobia, fear, racism, and outright exclusion and harm of others.
Take a moment, feel our sadness and fear, mourn our losses, and remember that many of us came together because we care about this world and the lives of everyone in it. Our new day is still our new day, and we can endure, we will continue to come together, and we will continue to make our world a better place. Now is the time to pick up the tools many of us were taught to use: love fearlessly, organize relentlessly, give without expectation, hope with joy, and offer ourselves and each other immense compassion. We can still bear the light.
How do we comfort each other in this time and begin to heal? Remember that at the end of every Tweet, email, phone call, Slack channel, and online forum are one or more persons. That what we saw on Election Day was an immense amount of pain being expressed, even if we don’t fully understand it. That, as a friend recently shared with me, there will be many opportunities to teach our children love and tolerance, even if they are surrounded by fear and division.
It’s easy to despise things that we don’t understand, and even easier to write off this election as a reason to completely disengage. But, being part of this community since 2009, I don’t think that’s what we’ll do. Because, every day I see us supporting each other, helping each other, and teaching each other. We now truly have the opportunity to practice what Ohana means: that family can disagree and still be family, that we can still value equality, trust, and openness, and that it’s not just when things go our way we are there for each other, it’s when the chips are down that we reach across to each other and say, simply, “I’m here for you.”