Democracy Did Not Fail Us, We Failed It

As I lay awake tonight, November 8, 2016, shocked at the decision our country has made, I remind myself that the sun will rise in the morning and that there will be a tomorrow. I am disappointed by the choice millions of Americans have made and by the loss of much of the progress our country made over the past 8 years. Democrats like myself cannot ignore the fact that millions of our fellow Americans announced to the world that they wanted a change. It may not be the change I agree with politically, but that does not make their frustrations any less real or legitimate. But we also can’t ignore the racism, anti-Semitism and overall xenophobia that the Trump campaign has unearthed in America. The voices of David Duke, the KKK, and overt racism have won a major victory by taking the White House.

At the same time I’m not naïve enough to understand that there are millions of Americans that feel as though they have been left out of our democratic process over the past decade, and that tonight, their voices were heard. Tonight there has been a major shift in power in United States and around the world.

I also refuse to except that the ideals and policies that have been fought for over the past eight years by the Obama White House have been in vain. I refuse to give up fighting for what I believe is right over frustrations with the democratic process and results. Let’s not kid ourselves – the democratic process did not fail us, we failed it. Through the noise of racism and fear, we were clearly unable to incorporate the concerns of frustrated Americans into our message to the electorate, and this is something that we must learn from.

Rather than hiding in our own corners of political idealism we have to find a way to incorporate disenfranchised voters into our message. We have to find a way to break through the political entrenchment that plagues our country and work together for the common good rather than gravitate towards trepidation and divisiveness. Now that racism and ‘fear of the other’ have been given an official seat in American politics, it is our responsibility to fight back even harder and to ensure that this platform of hate is only temporary.

Just like millions of Americans, I lay awake tonight frustrated, upset, and disappointed. But tonight I am challenging myself and challenging anyone who reads this to take that anger and angle it towards the future we believe in. Take that frustration and put it towards fighting for our ideals of justice, inclusiveness, and progress to create a brighter future. The sun will rise tomorrow and we will be left with a right wing government that many of us do not agree with. That is the nature of our republic. That does not mean that the fight is over; for many of us it should mean that the flight has just begun.

My mother always told me that our failures only remain as failures if we do not turn them into learning experiences. Let us take this election as a learning experience, and in our future fights for what we believe in, emerge victorious.

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