Facebook essays in favor of civility after the 2016 election

First, encouraging essays just before result came in…

We will all still be Americans

Tomorrow I will still love you all. Tomorrow, we will all still be Americans. (Except for my friends who aren’t, of course! 🙂 ) Tomorrow, someone will win and someone will lose. Tomorrow, some of us may be tempted to be disrespectful to the office because our person isn’t in it. Let’s be clear: respecting the office is not the same as respecting the person, whatever your beliefs. Let’s get our civility back!

All people have two things in common

Jacob: Thuan and I cast our early votes last week. I tried to think about what my vote could do for other people. I have explored countless cities, traveled to the boondocks of five continents and I always avoid the interstate when I drive across the US. I like to get to know the people who grew up in all those different places. It turns out people all over the world have two things in common: They want to protect their family and they want to help you if they can. I voted for Hillary because I believe she can help more people both inside and outside the US. If a priest says I’m going to hell that is just one voice in a million other people who have offered nothing but kindness. If some ISIS fanatic wants to attack me, that is one wound with a million other people who would donate an organ to help me heal. I am not afraid of being condemned by a priest or killed by ISIS. I am only scared that I will live my life without helping as many people as I could.

Tension between ideas is what brings growth

Meaningful and open engagement across a diversity of perspectives is the lifeblood of democracy; growth only happens in the constructive tension between ideas. Conservatives of all stripes are not just our fellow countrymen… they are our family members, our neighbors, our community leaders, our friends. The conservative perspective, and the values that it encompasses, play an essential role in our ongoing dialogue of democracy. The conservative tradition and the political philosophy that it draws upon (limits on governance, fiscal responsibility, individual liberties, values-driven society) have a time-honored and proud history in our country, indeed, in the world.

… but it takes people of conscience within the party standing up and saying “I know this isn’t politically or socially expedient… but, honestly fellas, this guy… do we want him leading us?” It doesn’t mean that you are discounting the fact that Trump is drawing upon very real concerns in this country (growing inequality, economic instability, etc.). But it does mean that you know this isn’t the path forward for us and that you can’t and won’t stand with the likes of Trump. You are the ones that will truly make a difference tomorrow. I can only hope that those of us on the Left can uphold our end of the bargain when history calls upon us to call out our own crazy. Tomorrow, America, I have faith in you.

Government mattered to me

I grew up poor ($) in the 60s and 70s. Never learned to worship $ nor rich people. I was able to afford college thanks to federal and state support, along with local philanthropic organizations. I believe in the important social support role of government, and while politics is difficult, I respect those who devote their lives to it.

Vote tomorrow, for my sake

You might say that it’s none of my business since I’m not a citizen. I wish that was the case too. But it’s not. Remember back in June when the UK lost its mind and voted Brexit? Stock prices fell, the currency went wacky, and it somehow became okay to express xenophobia and racism across everywhere. The impact of electing President Trump is far more consequential. For example, in Japan, I wouldn’t be surprised if our PM used this as an excuse to re-militarize itself after it goes into a huge recession after Trump has been elected. On a personal level, I would not be surprised if I got banned from looking for a job in the States even though I’m married to an American.

So please, I am begging you, as a part of the rest of the world who will inevitably be affected by your election, to exercise your right to vote tomorrow. You will do us a tremendous favor.


It’s a shame this election has turned into “a vote against _____” and not “a vote for _____ .” But it’s the reality of today’s political horizon, and the acrimony is not going to end on Tuesday. Five hundred and thirty-seven votes determined the whole 2000 election, my friends. So please vote no matter how disgusted you are or how busy you are. It takes a village. This election really will make a tangible difference in our and others’ lives, from the level of fear we will live under, to the respect we will get or not from the rest of the world. This election is a chance to show the rest of the world that we are actually sane.


Something I only just realized this evening: I’ve been resident in the U.S. since the fall of 1998, which means my residency would be old enough to vote in this election. Sadly, the USCIS doesn’t use my math, so I have to sit this one out. Have fun voting all you citizen-types — I’d better not find you slacking off in the office without one of those little Yo VotĂ© stickers on you.


I have my pantsuit picked out to wear tomorrow while voting! I didn’t have white…


“We accept the love we think we deserve.” ~Stephen Chbosky. The same with political leaders!

Essays the day after the election…

Phobia’ed out

I am gay, and engaged to a black woman. Now more than ever I fear for the safety and wellbeing of our family, and equally as important her family. I fear for the safety of all those who been hated on through all sorts of painful discrimination-islamaphobia, xenophobia, racism, sexism (to Name a few) that has continued to be all too commonplace. My heart is shattered, but it still beats with love for all of you who are hurting. You are all my brothers and sisters. May we use this as fuel to spring us into action, as we look to lift up and protect our communities.

No civility

Wow. This is a friend in the state of Washington. A blue state. And he lives near Seattle, not inland. “So… some guys in a car driving through our neighborhood just yelled at my wife while walking the dog to “get the F$#@ out of our country” and sped off. THIS is what we have to deal with now? My grandparents and father, uncle, aunts had their belongings and property removed by the government and thrown into internment camps not too long ago in our country. Of course these punks would target a woman walking a little dog and speed off — I’d love to see them say that to me face to face… cowards.”

New fear

I’m so very afraid of the future state of out country under Trump. I can’t keep reading about how he plans to overturn all the social justice we’ve worked and fought for. I can’t imagine DONALD TRUMP speaking with leaders of world superpowers and expecting them to still respect him after he offended practically everyone who isn’t white, straight, male, and Catholic. I can’t believe we elected this scum into the office. I remember a year and a half ago this whole Trump for President thing was a joke, now I’m rubbing my eyes, staring at the TV, and waiting for someone to tell me it is still a joke….

Lead by example

This is the time, more than ever, that the Left needs to lead by example. We are a country whose foundation is based on democracy. We must respect the choice America has made. There was so much discussion about not conceding, not respecting vote numbers, and rigged polls, that it is time we restore faith in our system. We must keep an open mind to the next few years, and because we honor our democracy today, we will have the privilege to participate in our nation’s next election.

Christian love, not a life of privilege

Christians: we have forgotten that we are not entitled to prosperity or security or power; rather, we are to live the Gospel – obliged to mercy, charity, sacrifice, and love. We are called to love others—ALL others—as we love ourselves. Our words are powerful.

“Telling it like it is” is not a sign of wisdom or strength; words of hate and exclusion are a saccharine addiction for those who are afraid to live in community with people who don’t look/think/talk like them.

I must be hopeful. I must be vigilant. Even though today I lament. Discrimination, exclusion, and injustice are nothing new to those who are still walking the long road to equality. They know, I know, that peace and justice look like work. Work that means getting up in the morning ready to stand firm in the face of persecution, ready to be the first to forgive. Work that means fighting for the rights of others when it’s easier to rest in the peace of what our ancestors earned for us. Like motherhood, like growth, the road ahead is relentless. But this is nothing new.

Love must trump hate. And I know it must start with me.


Walking to find a cab alone after an election party last night, a group of men cat called me. When I didn’t respond one yelled “fuck you bitch” while his friends laughed. I was scared.

My cab driver was a father of two. He and his wife are Moroccan. He was scared.

This morning I woke up to an America that is less free for women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, people in the middle class, people in poverty, and people who come here seeking the things that already make America great. An America that thinks those predatory men from last night are just having “locker room talk,” and that kind, Moroccan father should be scared. I feel more ashamed, more like something has died, than I have ever before. I’m still scared.

Out of this though, I know one thing: we all need to fight harder. I know I need to become more active in the causes and things that matter to me. I’m not moving to Canada, because America needs all of us more than ever right now. #pantsuitnation

Cry in disbelief

I cry tonight, for my Muslim students (and so many others) who feel afraid for their safety. And for my neighbors, who are insinuated as rapists and told they aren’t good enough for this country. I cry for myself, because I hear that a woman’s appearance is more important than her intellectual or social contributions. I cry for my children, who are now receiving very conflicting messages about how to be a good human. I cry in solidarity with immigrants, people of color, survivors of sexual assault and harassment, gender non-conforming individuals — people more vulnerable than myself. I cry for this earth. I cry in disbelief.


Going out of my way to help or just be kind to strangers. It fills my soul today.

Learning through experimentation

They say that parents should allow kids to make their own mistakes, so that they can encounter natural consequences and learn from them. Maybe that is what our country, and in particular the Republican Party, need at the moment. Still, I thought that advice was supposed to be for neglecting to tie shoelaces and getting a skinned knee, not for jumping in front of a car.


Chris: All I can say right now is this is going to be a very productive four years of fiction writing.

John:  Better publish quickly before dystopian literature gets moved to non-fiction.

This machine surrounds hate


This is Pete Seeger’s banjo. This is the machine he used to drive out hatred and injustice. Your machine might be a job, a volunteer role, a letter to the editor, an open-minded conversation with someone who disagrees with you, a blog, or even a commitment to say hi to one person who’s different from you everyday. Big or small, we’ve all got a machine, and right now America needs us to turn them on full-blast.

Don’t settle for fear. Use your machine.


Battered, but not broken. As a woman I know what it means to be oppressed. As a white woman I know my privilege. As an economically advantaged citizen I know security and quite a lot of freedom.

I will be taking the next few years to do some serious work to help my community and those less privileged than I am. I will show my daughters and family a way forward through this mess.America has spoken. We live in a democracy and although the vote didn’t go my way, I will not stop reaching higher for what is best within me and my community.

Love to each and every one of you. May your voices and lives be a testament to what you believe in.

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