Like many of you, I was late to bed on Election Day. The morning after, I was early to rise, unfortunately remembering right away that Donald Trump just became the next President-elect. I hadn’t slept well. I had a headache. And I had six miles to tick off the training calendar. Hoping that the run would distance me from America’s new reality, I welcomed the strides ahead more than I typically do before the sun rises.
The one thing that struck me as I ran my usual route was how quiet this morning was. There was little traffic in the usually congested roundabouts. Even less traffic on the sidewalks. I had a sense there weren’t as many people joyfully embracing the morning in the aftermath of this election. Of course, I live in Denver County, where Trump earned less than 19% support; I wasn’t expecting to run into a lot of cheery people. But the atmosphere was something different than disappointment. It was somber. I had a sense people were mourning in those dawn hours.
After my run, it was back to reality, which this morning included getting through breakfast with my two-year-old daughter without my coffee supplement. As soon as possible, we were out the door to replenish the coffee bean container in the kitchen. I drove to the nearest coffee shop, which for me, happens to be a Starbucks. In I walked with London and I had this peculiar feeling. I looked around at the clientele, not surprised to see the shop was already full of immigrants, as this particular Starbucks always has a very diverse customer base.
I was sad. I could feel it on my face. But the peculiar feeling was shame. For the first time in my life, I had a sense of shame from being white. I wanted to announce to the whole café, “It wasn’t my fault. I voted for Clinton.”
And I wanted to say that I was sorry. To the Muslim barista, I am sorry. To the nice Ethiopian men sharing the Starbucks patio with London and I, I am sorry. To the immigrants sipping their morning espresso, I am sorry.
We have heard a lot about those people who have been emboldened by a Trump victory. The KKK, the racists, the xenophobes, and all the bigots out there think it’s their time.
Well, show them that it isn’t. Be emboldened to greet with open arms, a smile, or a handshake, those who Trump and his deep base have disparaged. Women, immigrants, non-whites, Muslims, Jews, or Mitt Romney. You shouldn’t have to look far. Go out there and be better.