So here we are

Written on November 9, 2016

I stayed up till 2AM, with jaw dropped, trying my best to hold out to get the final results of the US presidential election. Quarter past 2, I was going in and out of sleep and I threw in the towel to call it a day.

This morning, I was awakened by my son yelling from his room, “I’m done sleeping” and my wife telling me Donald Trump had won.

Graciously, my wife went to tend to my son, while I laid in bed for a few more minutes. With thoughts swirling around in my mind — in disbelief and with many questions.

A couple of minutes later my daughter, was babbling in her room, signaling that she’s also ready to get up. Quickly I glanced through my Twitter feed to confirm what my wife had told me, Donald Trump had won.

I greeted my baby girl, as she welcomed me with her bright, little smile. We walked downstairs to the TV blaring with reruns of how the elections had unfolded. Greeted by my son who had just finished breakfast and my wife, conversing with her girlfriends over messages.

I refrained as long as I could from Facebook, because I knew, the dialogue there would be very different from that of Twitter. But eventually I tapped open Facebook, giving in to my daily habits.

The tone is somber and disdain.

I see graphics after graphics of how the election played out across the US. Patches of blue on each coast, while the middle — a sea of red.

Throughout this election season, most conversations of the presidential candidates that I had were treading on mostly confirming that our friends were inline with the candidate that made the most sense to us, Hillary Clinton. We would trade a few observations about how loud the tone of the season has been, how we were in disbelief of folks supporting Donald Trump, a few laughs and the conversations would end within 10 mins at best.

Many times throughout this election, I’ve tried to imagine how some of the people that I knew, were adamant Donald Trump supporters. The best analogy that I could come up with was that of the University professor. Often times while in University, I sat in classes, rolling my eyes at professors simply at the fact that what they taught were much theory and not of real application of what I would be met with in the real world — the work force. I mean how could they, they’ve been stuck in academia and aren’t facing the real challenges of those working in the industry.

I knew that in order to be competitive in the job market, that I would have to heavily supplement my education through those who were in the industry. Thankfully that came through much experimentation and resources found for free on the Internet.

In the same way, that’s the narrative I’ve been playing in my mind. Perhaps folks are tired of hearing from Hillary Clinton simply for the fact that she’s been in the political arena for far too long and so she’s irrelevant to those who are outside of that circle. That folks who supported and voted for Donald Trump, wanted to see a candidate that was more inline (and I say this very loosely) with them.

I’m also in disbelief, at how many times, the media has proclaimed that conservative, Christians have supported Donald Trump. Perhaps this is my fault in listening too much to media, trying to discern who is credible and not going out and having conversations with fellow Christians and trying to understand their thoughts for supporting him. Or perhaps, I allowed my biased views to be fueled by what media was portraying. But, I have to ask, is this really true? Much listening and conversing is needed on my part.

I heard the pleas that as Christians we must support those who are pro-life. And, I said, yeah I hear you but consciously, I couldn’t come to vote for a person who spoke much slander towards folks unlike himself. A person, whether he likes it or not, has become a role-model to many and fuels the mistreatment of women.

As a father of kids of both genders, my heart is heavy. I’m a paranoid father and the outcome of this election only feeds even more into my paranoia.

As a father to a son, I want my son to grow up to respect women. To love his mother and sister and honor them. I want him to extend the same kindness and chivalry to women outside of our family as well. I want him to know that he doesn’t have to follow the norm and should stand for the values his parents instill in him. I want him to protect his sister in the challenges she will face. I want him to stay sweet, happy and become a better man than his old man.

As a father to a daughter, I want to insulate and protect her so, so much. I want her to always know that she is loved and know that she has a voice and she should be respected. I want her to know that with her mind set, she could accomplish great things. I want her to learn Krav maga and Brazilian jiujitsu so that she could defend herself and not take crap from any man.

I see many folks talking about moving overseas or folks not originally from the US heavily considering the move back. And I honestly think, that would be beneficial to the future of the US. I say this, because I know first-hand the differences in views from marrying someone who was born and raised in Germany. I’ve been fortunate to experience life in Europe in patches of months and have resonated with how society there operates differently and it is refreshing.

My hope would be that folks would go beyond what they know and realize that there are lessons to be learned and things that could be brought back to the US in order to continue to make it great. I’ve seen how society can thrive from a socialist perspective. I’ve seen how people can have peaceful protests and actually see results of their labor, instead of being met with law-enforcement who are armed to the teeth. Wondering if their free speech will be a choice between life and death. In order to change, we also need a change in our perspective and that can come by living amongst different people.

As I look introspectively as one who follows Jesus, I’m upset at the condition of my heart and disobedience. As a follower I’m called to love God and love others, but I frequently allow my discomfort to prevail over that calling. Instead of asking myself how can I be a force for change and help those in arms reach of where I’m at, I looked comfortably from a distance at two folks promising a better tomorrow.

Soberly I’m realizing, in order to see change, I myself need to be an agent of change. That although I may not catalyze change on a macro level, I can be an agent of change in my own communities.

So, this morning, here we are. Donald Trump is the president-elect. My morning for the most part, started like any other morning. Kids woke us up, we had breakfast, exchanged hugs and kisses and everyone is going about their day.

I look outside and it’s just another quiet, cool, November day in Cary, NC.

But today, isn’t like every other day. Today, I hope much open-minded conversations will be had. Today, I hope folks will dream and use their creativity to spark changes for a better tomorrow. Today, I hope those who have been sitting on the sidelines will finally feel the need to get up and do something. Today, I hope folks aren’t pointing their fingers at each other but instead are rotating their hands and pointing to themselves. Today, I hope folks will realize in order to see the change that we deserve, the change needs to be ushered in by the people and not the platforms of a candidate or a party.

So, here we are today, a day much like any other, but very much different.

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