There were a lot of people who woke up hurt this morning. They didn’t get what they wanted. The thing I didn’t want happened. I voted for Hillary, not because I believe in her, not because I believe in her platform, and not because she embodies all of my presidential ideals. I voted for her because I felt that given the two choices, she would be a better president than Trump. This might come as a surprise to people who know me because of my conservative background and beliefs. Believe me, there might be more things that Hillary and I would disagree about than what we would agree on, but I found things about Trump so utterly repugnant that simply holding my nose, as it were, was morally unconscionable.
I acknowledge that some of you were enamored with most things about the candidate, and empathize with your desperation and fear for the months and years ahead. I try to put myself in your shoes and try to imagine the cocktail of emotions you are feeling, both in variety and magnitude. For my own part, I’m a little scared, also.
The disappointing thing for me in this election wasn’t that the candidate I voted for didn’t win, it is the reaction of her loss. I don’t think Obama and I would agree on much, either, but I admire the grace with which he extended his invitation to the President-Elect to visit the White House and transition the mantle of the Presidency. I’m certain that he has privately expressed disappointment and frustration over the outcome of the election, but it takes class to put on a brave face and look for how to move forward. I understand that this will take time, but we do, too.
I think we all acknowledge that the current political environment is toxic. Though it feels natural to do so, contributing to the toxicity is not helping. We will not convince the opposition by calling them racists, sexists, homophobes, xenophobes, etc. Words matter, but our actions can matter more. We can do more by extending bridges, even if it means that they might try to burn them down, than we can be blowing their own to smithereens.
So let me go first:
I consider myself a moderate conservative. We won’t agree on everything, but here is something we might have in common: I think we need to treat ourselves and each other better regardless of race, color, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, disability, religion, or political affiliation. I don’t think we should have laws that exclude people from society based on these factors. If I missed a factor that is important to you, I apologize, I’m not trying to ignore or marginalize you. That’s my bridge to you. I understand if you don’t want to cross that bridge to me: this isn’t a demand, but an invitation to explore. I hope you’ll extend a bridge for me into an area where we might share something else in common because I bet we'll surprise each other in a very pleasant way. You can catch me here: https://twitter.com/waynehartman