Now that the election is over, I’m trying to come to terms with the outcome. I know that life goes on, and somehow we’ll survive and get on with it.
We will continue to wake up each day, have our morning coffee, do our work and gaze in awe at spectacular sunsets. Soon, we’ll be gathering for Thanksgiving with family and friends and expressing our gratitude for the special people, places and things in our lives. After all, it is our innate resilience as humans that will make sure we get through this.
Now it’s time to draw from our inner-strength and reach across the aisle. I truly hope that all of us can find some common ground, through respect and kindness toward one another. In the words of the gentleman from Illinois who addressed the Democratic Convention in 2004, when he was still four years away from becoming our first African American president:
“There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America — there’s the United States of America. There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America….We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”
Coming together may be easier said than done, but I have two words for you: baby steps.
In the meantime, I remain hopeful. Here’s to new beginnings. A new president, a new administration. Sigh. And here’s to my friend, Linda, who recently became a United States citizen.
Linda Caballero Sotelo, who is the executive director of the New Americans Museum in San Diego, expressed on Facebook her utter joy in this significant achievement, and her words touched me, reminding me why I’m proud to be an American. I asked her if I could share her writings and she happily agreed. Here it is:
“Today I took the oath of citizenship to our great country. The little kid in the picture below, that 4th grader in parochial school in Imperial Beach, because Irma, my fearless 20 year-old sister, and my equally fearless and fierce Mama, were determined that I study in the States (the only one of six siblings to do so) —traveling back and forth daily between Tijuana and San Diego for those 10 years, straddling two countries, two languages, two cultures…two “cuisines”(!)
Somehow knowing early on that America held the promise of opportunity and equality… for a vocal and precocious little girl who believed that anything was possible, everyone equal and opportunities abound in the US with great, noble and generous Americans from all ethnic and cultural multi-generational backgrounds reinforcing those beliefs to this day… I am finally an American.
As I took the oath this morning from the honorable Judge Moskowitz, my throat tightened and my eyes twinkled and fought back tears because I remembered why I love my country of birth, BUT also why I’ve always loved this amazing and complicated country, America: because its potential and promise framed in democracy and our Constitution continues to be a work in progress — and I continue to have faith in us, that we will not be defined or co-opted by emboldened voices of divisiveness, bigotry and thinly veiled messages of hatred and racism now bubbling to the surface… but instead by those common values that unite us.
For a first time voter who has spent most of her adult life advocating, organizing and encouraging civic engagement, and for Americans to use their voice and exercise their right to vote, it’s overwhelming and humbling coming round full circle. Our nation of immigrants, just added one more new American, and I wanted to share how full my heart is.”