It was easy to wave the flag and speak in lofty terms about the wisdom of our forefathers and the resilience of the system of government they created. It was easy to evoke their brilliance in understanding that our country was, and would be, ever a work in progress as we sought to become that elusive more perfect union. And it was easy to see, early this morning, after a nail biting finish to an ugly race to determine who would be the next to lead us forth, that the system worked but the choice of America was not mine.
I voted for Hillary Clinton, not because she was a woman, and certainly not because she was married to Bill, as charming and glib as he may be, nor because she is the same age as me and the same generation. I voted for Hillary because I believed that she was the most experienced, most able, and most deserving of the two candidates. Mr. Trump, with his trademark platinum pompadour, and mean-spirited rhetoric, brought little of the political finesse nor strength of character I thought were needed as the president of our great nation. A master marketeer who traded in gilded hotels and reality television, he bullied his way to the White House on a platform that pandered to our basest instincts, that took what our forefathers had conceived as the foundations of our great nation and transformed them into something unrecognizable to many of us, then sold them to hordes of angry voters across America.
Yet, as this election clearly showed, America is not only mine, and while I can pick and choose the candidate of my choice, as can all of us, the candidate I chose was clearly a reflection of not only my values but of my privilege. I fit the profile as well as any of those who chose to vote for Hillary — white, educated, affluent, and a woman, the last identifier still a hot button for some of those white, male, less educated voters who often feel, understandably, displaced, irrelevant and ignored.
It is clear, as the results of this election settle in, and as Mr. Trump ascends to the presidency, that there are two Americas and there has been a disconnect between them. It is clear that we need to be more aware of what we have, and what others don’t. That we need to strive to bridge not only the income gap but the sensitivity and compassion gap.That we need to respond to those who are out of work or out of luck. Those whose jobs have been replaced by technology or eliminated by offshore manufacturing, those who by virtue of chance or circumstance find themselves unqualified and unfit in the current economy to compete. Those who are moving down, instead of up. Those who have little chance to succeed, and even less hope that they will.
I sent a message to my children yesterday reminding them to make it to the polls, telling them that voting is both a responsibility and a privilege.
The results today are a reminder that our precious freedom comes with responsibilities for all but not the same privilege.