I breathed a sigh of relief and pumped my fists in the air when Barack Obama was reelected last week. I allowed myself a moment of celebration and nod of gratitude for all the hours volunteers spent toiling for a cause and a candidate they believe in.
In sharp contrast, most of my Romney supporting friends admitted to me that they were voting against Obama and cast only a half-hearted vote for Romney. This matters not in outcome, but it does matter in terms of passion and conviction. I tried to wake my sons to tell them the news as they requested, but neither boy budged. It was, after all, well past midnight, and they had been sleeping soundly for hours. My pride, relief, and celebration were extinguished pretty quickly.
For starters, local and state elections kept my home state of North Carolina decidedly in the dark. Secondly, "friends" on Facebook immediately lashed out with racist, hateful rhetoric. I understand feeling disappointed and angry, but there is no (more) room for hate in political discourse. I am a woman of color, the daughter of immigrants, the mother of first generation American sons, and an engaged citizen. Remarks about Obama's color and heritage hit close to home for me, and I am disheartened that this nonsense continues. Drunken Donald Trump certainly doesn't help matters, though he did provide unintentional comic relief.
Politics in America have created an oozing, open wound. Our nation is not just divided, we are ripped apart by the very fibers our forefathers and mothers wove. The wound is raw, and no amount of rhetoric or money will help it heal. The election season wasted an obscene amount of money, thanks to Citizens United, the most disastrous and inaptly named legislation upheld by the Supreme Court. We have Obama as a winner, but half the country still feels angry, deflated, and worse.
Sure, I'm happy my candidate won. It's not a time to gloat. In reality, we all lose if the great divide continues. Let's work together to heal our nation. People are more important than politics.