EDITORIAL: Hakuna matata, making sense of election results

Illustration courtesy of Valdosta StateIllustration courtesy of Valdosta State

Illustration courtesy of Valdosta State Stunned. Hurt. Scared.

These are just a few of the adjectives I’ve heard and read since Election Day. I too have voiced these words. I’m stunned that the citizens of the U.S. showed the rest of the world how broken we are. I’m hurt by our lack of willingness to put our differences aside and vote for the common good of our country. I’m not scared, though, I’m down right terrified of what the future holds.

For those of you who know me, I’m not a person of few words. In fact, everyone close to me has told me to “shut up” on more than one occasion. But these past few weeks, I’ve found myself at a loss for words. This is not how I anticipated writing a commentary for our final newspaper. I wanted to congratulate my fellow students on getting through this semester successfully. I wanted to write about Christmas break. I wanted life to be normal.

But, alas, it was not to be.

It’s at these times that I need inspiration. I need to find hope to believe everything is going to be all right. People have their inspirations: family, friends, pets, loved ones. Some of my favorite inspirations actually aren’t real. Albus Dumbledore is the best professor I’ve never had. Harry, Ron and Hermione are the best friends I’ve never eaten lunch with. Bruce Wayne is the non-existent billionaire I dream of becoming. Simba is the best pet I’ve never cuddled with.

All of them have been vital to my mental stability since the election. They taught me to love, not hate, what I don’t understand. They’ve taught me to rely on others when I need help. They’ve taught me to believe there is good in people. And perhaps the most important lesson right now? Hakuna matata.

We live in a blissful state of hakuna matata in Northern California. I’m not saying we are perfect, but since Nov. 8, it seems to be about as close as we can get in America. By no means am I saying we don’t have the same issues as the rest of the U.S., we certainly do. But Northern California has pushed the curve many times in terms of social norms and equalities. San Francisco elected Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California, to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Sandra Day O’Connor, who received a B.A. in economics and went to law school at Stanford University, was the first female appointed to the Supreme Court.

Right now, I urge all of us to stay in that state of mind. It is very easy to get mad and angry and attack what has happened. I have felt it in me more than I would like to admit.

But please don’t. I beg of you. Don’t do it. If we start down that path, we are stooping to their level. We don’t need to become them or fight them. We need to show them we are better. We need to show America the right way. We need to become who people look up to. We need to be the light at the end of the tunnel, the lighthouse in a storm, a beacon of hope for the future.

I want to leave you with one last thought.

“The night is darkest just before dawn. And I promise you, dawn is coming.”  Harvey Dent said that. He is fictional, but his quote is one of my favorite quotes of all time. It just so happens to come from one of my favorite movies, “The Dark Knight”.

I urge all the beautiful, intelligent, motivated women whom I have known and that have influenced me, to remember this and stay strong right now. The first woman president of the United States is among you. You are going to be a mother to her, a sister to her, a friend to her. You have the opportunity to shape the person she’s going to become. Show her compassion. Show her how to love, how to listen, how to understand and to think.

Albus Dumbledore said it best, “It matters not what someone was born, but what they grow to be.”

But I don’t want you to win just based on your gender. I want you to win because of your astounding experience. I want you to win because of the generous work you’ve done, the lives you’ve touched and improved.

I want you to win because we deserve you. And right now, we don’t deserve you. You deserve a better American to lead. And that task is upon us for the next four years to show we’ve earned your leadership.

Illustration courtesy of Valdosta State