By Joey Hedger, Alexandria
To the editor:
On November 9, I woke up to a normal rainy day in Alexandria, a gloomy, hopeless day by many accounts. The nation, as I read about and experienced it, was filled with post-election shock.
We couldn’t believe what happened. We weren’t prepared for it. And now, we’re scared of it. We are scared of the radical back stepping that President-elect Donald Trump is planning to take during his time in office.
It is terrifying to think that our country has produced a leader such as him. I understand that this is just an opinion, and that some people believe former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be equally scary; but nevertheless, Wednesday morning began a historic era when America had to wake up, look at the wreckage that was left on its lawn, and begin considering what this means for 2017 and beyond.
Throughout the campaign, Trump taught us to fear the government, to fear immigrants and Muslims. He taught us to fear the media, and he taught us to fear each other. Looking back, I wonder if there was more I could have done.
Maybe I didn’t take seriously enough the possibility or consequences of Trump being elected president. But that is behind us now. What comes next now must and can only be hope. Hope and action.
In this past year, we have shown how desperate we are to see change, to see the government look out for its people in the best way we know how. And that is the beauty of it. Everyone I know just wants to see a better place for our friends and families to live in. So my question is this: What’s stopping you?
This election was significant because everyone had a vision of what could come about through the impact of our votes. But votes don’t matter now. What matters are those visions.
I urge you to please continue standing up for your values. Please stand up for social justice in a way that matters. If the issues that arose and were argued about during this election matter to you, do more than just complain about it on Facebook.
Take the next step and let your voice and your action count. If you disagree with Trump’s handling of immigrants, then support an immigration assistance organization. There are plenty of places that provide language education and job training, as well as low-income housing for the misplaced persons in our society. Find them and reach out.
Or if you are passionate about giving a voice to the “little guy,” go find a way to make that happen. The election is over. But what remains is our freedom and ability to voice our opinions and come together to spread a message of love.
We care about the outcome of our country and our communities, neighbors, friends and family. We care because we can. Please support the local and national organizations you care about. Volunteer. Send money. Sign petitions. Do everything you can to make America valuable.
This value is not in wealth or strength, but in kindness, action and the ability to express your opinion and to do whatever possible to make the world a better place. That is the true American dream. Don’t let your passions stop at the voting booth. Go out into the community and make your opinion count.