Yesterday, I tried to find words about the results of the election, and I had none.
I woke up and was deeply sad. I was angry, I was scared and I was frustrated. But I had no words. This has happened to me before - this year, in fact, when I've been so hurt, aching to the bone, that language escapes me. I've had dark days, days where I cry until my eyes are so swollen that it's equally painful to shut them as it is to have them open. But I've also learned the power in forcing them to open, in quieting myself, in sitting with my feelings until I have words.
I am devastated at the outcome of our presidential election. I will get that elephant out of the way first - I, in no way, think Donald Trump is worthy of the office. Yesterday, I raged. But I listened to President Obama (how I'll miss saying that) speak on the peaceful transition of power, the standards and traditions that we must uphold as a republic, and I thought - now is the time to listen.
I know that many people I love and many people I hold dear voted for Donald Trump. I am working to believe that you do not see it as a vote against my basic human rights, or the rights of others. And I pledge to work to understand what has left you so disillusioned, so pained with the state of our nation, that you felt that a vote for his ticket was your best option. If I work to understand that, perhaps I can work to help heal it, if it is a problem that I feel is valid and needs to be addressed.
That will be my challenge. But I have a challenge for you, too. If you love me (or even if you don't) and you voted for Donald Trump, I have to believe that you feel that his bigotry and misogyny and racism and all of the other terrible, awful gut punches that I think are associated with his character, are unlikely to assert themselves in the Oval Office. I'm uninterested in debating that point with you - emotions run too high, and at some level, it is just a fundamental difference between us.
But my challenge for you is this : if you voted for Donald Trump, I hope that you will agree to hold him accountable should those terrible characteristics begin to assert themselves in the way he governs. I hope you will fight for me and for the communities that feel they are in danger with his presidency - the LGBTQ community, immigrants, Muslims, my friends who are members of the media. My challenge for you, Trump voters, is that you will pledge to fight for the rights of your American brethren, even if we sit on the opposite side of the political aisle.
After all, isn't that what truly makes us a beautiful nation? The fact that we can disagree on so many things and still have the freedom to say them. The fact that members of the same family can be vehemently passionate about two opposing sides of a presidential election, and still sit at a Thanksgiving table in a few weeks with great love.
In the wake of a bitter, painful election, this is no time to give up or walk away. I say that to those left saddened and those left happily surprised by the results. It is more important now than ever to fight for what is right - to love more, to hate less and to work harder on coming together and understanding how we find common ground for a country we all love.
I challenge all of us, voting record aside, to turn to our countrymen and say : your rights matter. You are important to me. I will fight for you.
Finally, to those of you left devastated by the results, especially many smart, funny, incredible women I know - take heart. The first-ever Latina Senator comes to Washington after Tuesday's results. The number of women elected in Congress, though they may not all vote the way you'd like, is heartening. Our climb is far from over. But there are glimmers of light.
I am ready to get to work, ready to find a common ground that promotes tolerance, acceptance and a greater understanding of what divides us. And I hope that all of you - no matter which oval you bubbled on Tuesday - are, too.