For eight years I’ve listened to people bash Obama and his policies. Before him, Bush. Clinton. Bush. And now Trump gets the vitriol. To say our nation is divided is an understatement. My own state is divided, my friends and family as diverse as could be.
And as our nation flip-flops between the parties, each strives to fix what the previous president broke. Each election, our country is given a narrow choice: red shirt, or blue shirt.
Ever since I was old enough to begin voting, I have had moral conflicts with our chosen president (and senators & representatives). At some point, they all disappoint. Some more than others. Some a lot more.
But good has come, and there have been progresses. People continue to fight for what they believe.
Regardless of how I feel about our president-elect, I am trying to enter this term with some optimism that the systems that have been failing people get the attention needed to make them better. That we do not lose the personal freedoms that we have fought so hard for. That fear does not win.
But I recognize that people will be hurt. For every person who benefited from the ACA, there’s another who can’t get the medical care they need. For each a low income family who gets every penny of their income tax back (and then some), there’s a small business that struggles to pay its workers a fair wage.
We will not all be happy. Some will struggle in a new way. Change will improve lives as it ruins others.
I will cast my ongoing vote with my dollars and with my time. I will choose which organizations to support, and I will continue to vote in every election that comes up – especially the local ones. I will be better than those that choose to do nothing while they complain about the results. I will support people who feel marginalized. I will fight for personal freedoms, and against racism.
And I will stay. I will hold on. Because to leave, or opt out, is to quit.