Today, I have chatted with a number of friends who voted for Hillary around the country. Everyone I have talked to harbored a combination of disappointment and even fear, that frankly broke my heart.
You see… I am also disappointed. I have not been particularly discreet about my political views leading up to this election. I went as far as to write an open letter in Spanish (which I submitted to a few Hispanic newspapers) about my reasons for my vote this election. The version of the letter that I posted here earned me numerous attacks on Twitter. But I felt proud to be able to speak up.
I am heartbroken, because I remember in December 1998, when Hugo Chavez got elected in Venezuela, I had this same feeling… looking around me, and saying to myself “There’s no future! I am getting out of here”, not unlike the people that rushed to the Canadian Immigration website, crashing it last night while the results favoring Trump were pouring in. And I stuck to my plan: it took me over one year, but in January 2000 I came to this country.
3 years later, our son was born in American soil, and 14 years later, I became a citizen along with my wife. And yesterday I cast my first of many presidential votes to come.
— Manny Hernandez (@askmanny) November 8, 2016
As the final results began to sink in this morning, one phrase from Hillary’s concession speech stuck with me:
"This loss hurts. But please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it." —Hillary
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 9, 2016
When I think back to what brought the country to where it is today, the one thing I can point back to is that not enough people voted. According to NPR, nearly half of adults registered to vote didn’t show up. It was the election with the lowest turnout since 2000, the previous most hotly contested election in American history.
So if there’s a lesson to take with us, remember: do not ever take for granted this incredible right we have in the United States. There are countries where the liberty to choose is being taken away, and we still have it in the US. And if you don’t believe positive change is possible after yesterday, consider that on the same day, we passed a soda tax all over the Bay Area, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio (a 7-term sheriff from Maricopa County, Arizona, accused of targeting Latinos) was voted out….
and if you need a lighter view of things to make you smile and wipe the tears (I know many of you cried today), check out Ellen DeGeneres’ amazing post-election message.
And no: I am not going to Canada! 😉
P.S. If this made you feel even an ounce better, please feel free to share it…