I haven’t posted much politically on Oppo over the course of this election cycle because I try to do my little part to (mostly) keep Oppo politics-free (this is a personal view, not my official Moderator view). That said, I will speak my heart here now and then move on. The surprise many of us are feeling today is the fault of people like me. I had a brutal moment of clarity last night, half drunk on Tito’s and cranberry, when one of my daughter’s who is away at college called me crying inconsolably because she was afraid her future was diminished because she is a woman in this new political reality. I managed to talk her out of her emotional tree but it was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do as a parent because I didn’t believe the words coming out of my mouth.

Then my moment of clarity hit when I realized a few things: Gary Johnson and Jill Stein had nothing to do with this. Xenophobia and misogyny had nothing to do with this. Traditional Right vs. Left platform/policy disagreements had nothing to do with this. We lost. Our party’s complacency did us in. We placed so much emphasis on Hillary and the righteous feeling of inevitability that we couldn’t see the forest for the trees. The rejection of our candidate says less about the rejection of the progressive platform and more about our complete inability to understand what we were up against and what their motivations were. Consider Maslow’s Hierarchy; the Left (whatever that means) in this country has been focused on the upper tiers without understanding that the BASE of the Right (whatever that means) has been telling us over and over with deeds and actions that they are still far more concerned with the lowest tiers. We didn’t get that because that is not the same concern in our “Coastal America.” We heard the words but missed the message. They were arguing fear but we heard hate and we smugly beat them over the head with it. Instead of trying to understand the irrational objections to our concerns, we shamed them for theirs.

As humans, we cannot live outside ourselves if we do not have the luxury to do so. If we are constantly concerned about how we are going to feed our kids and keep a roof over their heads, we are more likely to look for someone to blame because we can’t have that our parents took for granted than to empathize with others. We didn’t understand because from our perspective our America is already great. Theirs isn’t. I hope we all learn from this. I know I will. Empathy is literally our only hope to heal our divisions. Coming from the blue collar background that I do, I more than most should have extended it before now. I’ll never make that mistake again. I’m done with cynicism and am profoundly ashamed that I ever indulged it. There is no part of this country that is beyond redemption or undeserving of our respect and understanding.

No matter what we disagree about going forward, please know that I wish every single one of you nothing but happiness and peace.