It’s what I’m being asked to give today. It’s what I’ve been searching and seeking myself. Were that I could – but, unfortunately, it’s not mine to give.
I voted for Hillary Clinton. I cast my vote as a vote against bigotry, hatred and fear. I cast my vote to assure my son that the talk on the elementary school playground – that if Trump were elected president, our Jewish family and that of his Asian friend would have to leave the country – could never prove true. I cast my vote to assuage the fears and affirm the rights of every American – LGBTQ, physically or mentally challenged, Muslim, African-American, Hispanic – to safety and security in this country. I cast my vote to declare that demeaning women, much less assaulting them, is never OK. I cast my vote because, more than any other issue, the affirmation of these values was the most important factor.
Apparently others, many others, felt differently. They – perhaps you – cast their vote out of frustration with our government, dislike of Clinton’s policies, agreement with Trump’s trade strategy, concern about the Supreme Court. The key to reconciliation in this country will be to recognize that politics are multi-faceted; a whole array of choices gets distilled down to two (or three) candidates, and everyone must set their own priorities.
Let me state unequivocally: A vote for Trump does not need to be a vote for racism, bigotry, or extremism. (And we don’t need to hear why you cast your vote as you did; no judgment, no shaming.) But we do need to know: How will you work to assure that it wasn’t? How can we, together, make a loud, definitive statement that, whoever won yesterday, love and respect did not lose?
Those who cast your vote for Trump, please – we look to you for reassurance. Yesterday you told us who you wanted to be president. Today, and every day for the next four years, let’s be clear about the values we expect him to uphold.