People who know me understand I am a social person who loves to hold conversation. For once, however, I can say I was left speechless. I read people’s reactions to the result of the presidential election at 4 a.m. this morning, and I couldn’t put my emotions into words for most of the morning. I felt numb. So, I decided to sit and do what I do best, write.
Now, let me begin by saying I am breaking one of my two cardinal rules, no writing about religion and no writing about politics. These are also the same rules I have for bar conversation. You aren’t going to change an opinion and you aren’t going to make a difference. Political discussion seems to only spread animosity these days.
I am writing, however, for those who need hope right now, and to ask those uncomfortable with the results to remain strong.
I’ve always been the kind of man who respects our nation and its history. I’ve always been proud to declare myself an American and I couldn’t imagine not giving my support to a sitting president, no matter how much I disagree with them on policy.
I guess, like writing this piece, there are times for exception.
Donald will never be my president. I will not accept him.
I say this, not because he is a Republican. I vote red and blue all the time, and I voted red in this election on several local issues. I vote for the person and not the party. I support Republican and Democratic leaders. Donald, however, hardly qualifies as a person, let alone a leader.
So, I have to stand firmly with my beliefs and admit that I will never see Donald as my Commander in Chief.
As the late author Harper Lee once said, “They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled full respect for their opinions…but before I can live with other folks, I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
How can I accept a leader who mocks the disabled, when I’ve spent years championing for them, even pushing a wheelchair restricted friend in a 5k race— the only one I’ve ever ran— just so he could experience it for himself?
How can I accept a leader who was endorsed by hate groups, when I have a brilliant African-American nephew, who isn’t even old enough to vote himself yet?
How can I accept a man who grabs women, when I have a curly-haired and innocent niece who will grow in a world run by him?
How can I accept a man who encouraged violence against those who disagreed with him, and forcefully banned them from places, when that is the very core of our country?
How can I support a man who wishes to suppress people of their rights, when I have a courageous and gay little brother?
How can I support a man who refuses to look at better naturalization processes, and, instead, wishes to build an unattainable wall, when I see so many great neighbors busting their asses to become permanent, tax-paying citizens?
As Harper Lee also wrote, “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”
This hateful man will not scare me, because he lacks courage, and because I know there is nothing stronger than humanity, which I know will prevail in the end. We are licked for the next four years, but we fight for the four that will follow.
So, I am asking those in need of hope to stop promising a move out of the country. It achieves nothing. You look silly. Dig your heels into the dirt and give those who spread hate all the hell you can muster by doing good and spreading awareness. We are the reason America is already great and it is up to us to keep it that way.
This message is especially for my fellow millennials. We always get hate for things that aren’t true, while we try to survive in a mess made by those before us. The truth is, the older generation fears us. We are coming and they know it. So, don’t give them the glory of saying “told you so,” when you joke about giving up on America. She is ours.
Stay here, ditch the mourning clothes, put on a tie or pantsuit and give hate a reason to fear. We all deserve equal rights and acceptance. We cannot be ruled by fear, when it is they who should be afraid, because their way of life is dying.
Stay with me and help make sure tomorrow is beautiful for my young niece, it is safe for my nephew, it is fair for my brother, that my neighbors have equal opportunities, and progress marches on.
I repeat, our nation is great because of its people. Even after this election, I believe this to be true. We are a scrappy bunch of people and I know we will go on, for our children’s children, so that they will be proud when they place their hand over their hearts and say “One nation indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all.”
Reach Joseph Pratt at