I was an eleven-year old girl, watching from across the US-Canada border, when John F. Kennedy delivered his stirring inaugural address, calling the youth of the United States of America to a life of service for their country and their fellow men and women at home and abroad.
I was a 40-year old woman when George H.W. Bush, accepting his party’s nomination as its presidential candidate, expressed his desire for a ‘…kinder, gentler nation.’ Twelve years later, George W. Bush described himself as a ‘compassionate conservative‘ during the first election campaign in which I, as a recently naturalized US citizen, had the right to vote. Once installed in the Oval Office, Bush reached across the aisle to join hands with Ted Kennedy and forge landmark legislation on education reform.
I have watched with dismay as the political, social and religious discourse in my adopted country has been sucked ever downwards during the ensuing years, feeding a voracious maelstrom of fear and hate. The election cycle that we have just survived was the worst by far.
I accept that there are deep divisions in this country. I accept that people hold deep-rooted and honest opinions that differ greatly from mine. That’s life. What I cannot, will not, accept is the transmutation of political differences into hatred, bigotry, and outright racism.
I did not vote for Donald Trump. But he won the election. He will be our president for the next four years. It’s time to accept that decision and move on. It’s time to look past our divisions and our differences and work together.
It’s time to make America kind again.