I slept very little - an hour at most, I think - but spent most of the night tossing and turning in a weird numb state of not so much disappointment or depression as disorientation, feeling as if I'd been thrust into a topsy-turvy reality where things were not at all what they'd seemed.
But when I dragged out of bed at 6:30 am - there was no use to stay in bed any longer, I couldn't sleep anyway - and turned on the news and heard a snippet of Donald Trump's victory speech, I felt a ray of hope: far from the vengeful bombast he typically spouted at his campaign rallies, his words yesterday morning sounded conciliatory. He acknowledged Hillary Clinton as a hard worker and thanked her for her service to our country. Hillary later in her concession speech offered to help the President-elect in any way she could. Hearing this did my heart good.
Donald Trump also expressed in his victory speech a desire to reach out to all Americans, to seek help and guidance from us all, and to unite us all, Democrats and Republicans, people of all religions, races, backgrounds and beliefs.
And though the words of his speech were only words, and totally out of character from Donald Trump's public persona at that, still I found those word a comfort and a reason for hope that, who knows, maybe Donald Trump is facing a moment of truth and epiphany. Maybe he actually will seek to pull us all back together even after he's spent the past year driving us apart.
And so, following the counsel of Hillary Clinton in her gracious concession speech, I intend to offer Donald Trump an open mind. I intend to do this in spite of all the dreadful things he's said and done in the past and in spite of my own harsh criticism of him and my many hours of labor in the effort to keep him from being elected.
Because the thing is, elected he was. And I can either beat my head against the wall or accept it, hope for the best, and wait and see. And this only fair, I think, because Donald Trump's surprise victory apparently came from a massive and obviously under-polled demographic in this country: white non-college educated people; people for whom the skilled jobs have disappeared; people who've not only lost their economic security but along with it their sense of place and purpose in a demographically shifting society; people who have been feeling disenfranchised at best, hopeless at worst. They've felt voiceless and desperate, how voiceless and desperate we didn't understand until they rose up like a sleeping giant on election day and showed that they were willing to overlook Donald Trump's gargantuan iniquities just to have the voice they believe he's given them.
And so here's what I hope. I hope that the people who elected Donald Trump president are now feeling a new hope and optimism and that this will translate into good feelings about themselves and those around them, whatever the race, religion, ethnicity or gender orientation of those around them happens to be. I hope that Donald Trump will continue to emphasize the message that was at the heart of his victory speech, that we are a diverse country and that we need to come together now. I hope that he will work, as he promised to do in that speech, to bind the wounds of division among us.
I hope that he will succeed in bringing back jobs and that he will in fact , "fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. ...rebuild our infrastructure...and put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it".
I hope he will work well with other world leaders, many of whom have already stepped forward and expressed a willingness to work with him.
I hope that today will be a fresh start for Donald Trump and for us all.