Several months ago, in this column, I offered my view of the last two candidates standing as choosing between a lesser of two evils. In the spirit of full disclosure and transparency, of those choices, I voted for Hillary.

Now, that the dust has settled and we are faced with four years of a Trump presidency, let’s reflect on what happened and what we got.

We got exactly what we asked for.

In the last eighteen months, we put two of the most unpopular, immoral and dis-engaging candidates at the top of the two major political party tickets like throwing chum in the water, then expressed faux concerns at the frenzy that has ensued.

The problem is, we became fans of these candidates, not supporters of any ideals. That is a big and telling difference in how we view our political leaders, and our place in the democracy. I voted for Hillary but was a supporter of neither. I chose the route that I thought would be the least destructive.

I support the protests that are going on right now because a free voice is one of the rights that makes our type of government unique. But we are protesting the wrong thing. Instead of protesting against the winner of the election process, why aren't we protesting the carnival atmosphere of the process itself. And while we are at it, why aren't we taking ourselves to task for being an active participant in the cacophony of sound bites and video streams? How did we allow the primaries to become such mean-spirited volleys of attention-grabbing moments that we lapped up and then, asked for more - then have the nerve to be upset at the outcome we helped facilitate?

My form of protest comes from trying to be the best person I can be, and live the best life I can. We change hearts and minds one by one, not in the street. We turn people around by example, not by threatening or fear-mongering. Or being afraid. Or suspecting only the worse. The value of our nation comes with the value we place on ourselves. So, I will say again: No Lives Matter, Except Your Own. Not one democratic or republican, or brown-skinned, pale white, doe-eyed, tree-hugging, whale-watching life matters if you cannot reconcile how your live your own. Live it full of wonder and awe and compassion and knowledge. Fill it up with experience, and what is important to you. This is especially true where politics are concerned. And this year, what is important to me did not seem important to either candidate.

I advocate a change in our government, our constitution, our very political make-up. But that starts at a local level and spreads outward. And by local, I mean, within ourselves. This election could be the big reset we all need - setting the stage for real, significant change in the future. We become more when we experience less.

I agree these are dangerous times, but not just for America. Our continuation as a species hinges on what we do about the environment, food supply, water and technology to support over-population over the next two decades. We are that race against time, my friends, together. And that is what we must concentrate on, now. Because when the end of the world comes, being black, white, muslim, green, independent, catholic, Buddhist - none of it will matter. Extinction doesn't have a political party.

I feel badly for Hillary. And Bernie. And Donald. We made them patsy's in a real-world game, in which there can be no winners, only an empty sandbox, full of hurt feelings.

The next four years are just that: four years. We can make it through them. Ask any gay man who came of age in the 80's and is still around to talk about survival. We know survival. And I hope we take every lesson learned from this election, from this year of living dangerously, from the next four years, and use it to make something better. Including and starting with ourselves. We can do this. And although I do not (yet) respect the person who won, I respect the office of the presidency of this country. I am willing and eager to see him defy the under-expectations we have of him. I am equally willing to start identifying the person who will eventually replace him because, until it changes, that. is. how. it. works.

What I am not willing to do: hate the other half. Retaliate. Because, whether we want to admit it or not, “the other guys” are part of our national make-up. They are us. We are them. Neither will I spend the next four years in abject terror. Or, give into rage. I am better than the situation we now find ourselves in. And being the best person I can be will influence the world around me.

What else am I not willing to do? I will not give into the politically correct mindset of Identity Liberalism, where every faction and sub-group in America needs to be called out and identified to be made welcome. We have made fascist separatism the Democratic Party’s political norm, and have masqueraded it under clever covers, like “outreach” and “diversity”. I refuse to call the never-ending alphabet of the LGBTQIE community anything other than Gay. I refuse to be pulled into the nonsensical conversations about White Privilege, or Black Lives, or the free expression of the Pan-Asiatic Community. Diversity and tolerance cannot be legislated; it can only be advanced by living a personal life that demonstrates those tolerances in a way that you want other people to emulate. First, heal yourself. Democrats lost this election because they want to be too many things to too many people; instead of being Something to all people. 

Coincidentally, I am writing some of this column on December 1: World AIDS Day. I am reminded every year on this date of those long, dark, unforgiving years that I grew up in. We lost so much and so many. But we never gave up. We never stopped believing that the future would be better. And, for those that survive, here we are. The next four years is nothing – and I repeat, nothing – like the decades of loss that so many of us endured. We can get through this.

When the protests end, the real work begins. Again.



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