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Dear America… Land of the Free, Home of the Brave

Dear America

November 9, 2016

Dear America,

I’ve had my heart broken a number of times but today my heart is shattered. I look in the mirror and I see my white skin and I feel deeply ashamed. I’m embarrassed by my race and by my nation. Like many of us, I didn’t get much sleep last night. I tossed and turned constantly checking the election results not wanting to believe what was real…. not wanting to believe that my nation could elect a bigot, a racist, a misogynist, a womanizer, a blatant hater!

I remember when the notion of Trump becoming a presidential candidate first surfaced and I said there’s no way that will happen. Then I remember when it became official that Trump would be running for president and I thought this just can’t be! This is a joke, right? Sadly, it wasn’t. While I was concerned for the state of our nation at that time and didn’t want to even think about what would become of our world if Trump became president, I was equally concerned about his opponent, Hilary Clinton. While I was never for her I was definitely against him.

I understand that many of us wanted change…. even more urgent, we NEEDED change, but not this…. no, NOT HIM!!! I’ve been holding back tears all morning. I get we NEED change but I fear for what’s to come. I worry for my black friends, my Latino friends, my female friends, my Muslim friends, my undocumented friends, my LGBTQ friends….. well, you get the picture. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.

I am spending the week in Boston to attend Inbound, an incredible conference on marketing and sales featuring some of the most outstanding and amazing speakers and performers. This morning, Ta-Nehisi Paul Coates, an American writer, journalist, and educator gave the keynote speech. Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic, where he writes about cultural, social and political issues, particularly as they regard African-Americans. His latest book, Between The World and Me is a letter to his son about what it’s like to be black in America.

I know my skin color does not define me nor does yours define you or anyone else for that matter. But I do know that life is NOT the same for those of you that do not look like me. I know sometimes it seems easier for those of us that have it easier to just turn a blind eye and pretend that these problems do not exist or worse yet, contribute to them. I’m fortunate in ways that I should not be fortunate but I am also grateful. I am grateful that I grew up learning to love EVERYONE regardless of how they look or where they come from.

I’m downtrodden, I’m disappointed, I’m angry, I’m hurt…. I’m a ball of emotions. I am trying my best to stay positive, remain optimistic, have hope. It’s all I know to do during this scary time. That and continue to spread as much love as I can. I just know we’re better than this. I don’t understand why integrity and character aren’t what matter most. I don’t understand why we make assumptions based on appearances. I don’t get why as humans we aren’t more compassionate. We are clearly a country divided. I want a country united.

I wish we could do away with the two-party system altogether. I wish we could have a do-over of this entire election. I wish our country provided better candidates and options. I wish for a lot of things that right now just aren’t so. I can wish and wish all I want to wish but the facts remain the facts. The reality is Donald Trump will now be in charge of our country. Donald Trump will run the United States of America for at least the next FOUR years.

Though I will allow myself the time to grieve what in my opinion is a tremendous upset for our nation, I will also stay positive and optimistic and do what I can to create the change we want to see and let all of you know you are still loved no matter who you are, where you come from, what you look like, etc. We must have hope and we must continue to spread love and joy across the world. That’s all that I know to do right now.

I pray that all of us who are disappointed will rise up and not give up hope. Desmond Tutu said, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” Continue to see the light. Do not let your flame of hope burn out. We have seen great change occur and I believe we can still stand united and support one another. Think of these words from Stephen R Covey, “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.” I have to believe this to be true.

I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Robert Fulghum, “We could all learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others are bright, some have weird names, but they have all learned to live together in the same box.” I know that crayons are inanimate objects that don’t have feelings and cannot express emotions but this is a beautiful sentiment and a reminder that we should embrace diversity.

We could all learn a lot from a box of crayons

Differences, culture, diversity, a myriad of people from all backgrounds is what makes our country so rich and so beautiful. Let’s not destroy this. Let love, compassion, understanding,  and acceptance rule!

I'm With You

#ImWithYou and #WithLoveAlways

Katie Cahmann