It’s hard to feel hope at a time like this.
We are told as children to work hard and to be kind, to do good and show compassion. “Dream big, don’t cheat, and you will go far,” we are told. Everything about yesterday’s result feels like a slap across the face to the small child we all once were; the child who was told this again and again, who believed in it inherently and lived by it.
We have seen a man fuelled by greed, cheating and hate succeed. We have seen a man rise to the very top who has lied time and again. We have seen a blatantly sexist, racist, misogynistic man, who is an advocate for violence and segregation of the worst kind be appointed the leader of the free world. It’s hard not to feel scared and devastated and hard-done by. This is not something that affects only citizen of America; this affects all of us as citizens of the world. Obama spoke in his address to the nation today of carrying on – the sun will rise, the baton of Presidency will be passed, he said. In his words:
“You know, the path that this country has taken has never been a straight line. We zig and zag and sometimes we move in ways that some people think is forward and others think is moving back, and that's OK.”
HOPE – NOT JUST CHILDREN’S DOMAIN
We often talk about hope in relation to children; like it’s something they possess almost exclusively. We shelter children to keep them protected from the bad of the world, and rightly so... I wouldn’t deny any child the freedom of growing up unburdened by all the bullshit, and I mourn for those who have it taken from them. As we grow up, we start to see things that disillusion us… things that gradually chip away at the wall of blissful ignorance that has been built up around us. Gradually the hope that was once all we knew starts to leave us. Today is a perfect example of this disillusionment in its more extreme form.
In general, humanity inspires me, and gives me great reason for hope. I am a determined optimist – I always try to see the good in situations, despite all the bad that may be tied up in it. I don’t disregard this side, but I elevate the potential for good outcomes and hold it high. Today, my spirit struggled to hold up the potential for good more than it ever has before. I felt overwhelmed on hearing the news because I felt as if I – as if we all – were seeing directly what humanity truly looks like, and it was not a pretty picture… it was not the hopeful picture I’ve always believed it is, at its core. I’m not ashamed to admit I shed tears reading the news and truly processing what this means. I felt as if humanity had failed, that the world would truly be a better place without us in it, and what’s the point in trying if things like this can actually happen? This is a crucial moment in so many respects, and I feared that this choice spells disaster not only for mankind but for our planet.
These extreme feelings surprised me at first because, as Obama said, the sun will rise after all, things will keep going on, the world has not ended. It made me realise that this huge wave of despair was caused by a lack of hope. Because the thing is, hope is not child’s play. Adults should feel just as hopeful an optimistic and excited about the world as children do.
Hope is more important now than ever. Love wins, hate loses… I truly believe that. That’s a hard thing to say in light of the election, it’s a hard thing to truly believe in, but I do. No matter what happens from this point on, we need to know that we are the ones who ultimately have the power. No matter what, if we continue to live by the guidelines of our youth, if we continue to show compassion and be kind and dream big, nothing can stop us. People have the power to affect change on a massive scale. This was proved last night. But it was also proved in 2008 when Obama was elected. It will be proved again when a woman does make it into the Oval Office. It has been proved millions of times around the world throughout history when the people have kept believing in the good despite the very worst circumstances.
Keep hope and let it drive everything you do. I hope for the world to become a better place than it is today, and I will do everything in my power to get us there. It doesn't seem like much, does it? I’m one person. But we are all one person, and together we are beyond powerful. We can do anything. Show love, compassion, gratitude and understanding to everyone you encounter. No matter what we see in the media, we do have control over our daily lives, and our days are shared by others around us. Let’s come together, let’s show the future generations who look back on this moment that this was not the beginning of a dark period, but a time when people turned their hope and determination for a better future into reality.