RICHARD AGUIRREDirector of Corporate and Foundations Relations
The morning after Donald J. Trump was elected president, I awoke thinking about something the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
That’s the hopeful spirit I’ve tried to maintain since Election Day and will try to keep in the coming months and years despite the temptation to become depressed or withdraw from others and pretend Trump’s election is just a nightmare.
I’m not naive; I know some people, especially immigrants, refugees and people of color, may suffer because of Trump’s policies. And it will take persistent citizen engagement and help from both good Democratic and Republican lawmakers to safeguard our civil rights and reject divisive proposals.
Still, we must accept the election outcome and some facts: Donald J. Trump will become our 45th president on Jan. 20, 2017, and he will need our prayers and support; 61 million voters supported Trump, and they did so for a variety of reasons, some of them quite valid; we can’t turn against those with whom we disagree because we share this country and we share a common destiny; and we need to remain engaged in the political and governing process and work for positive change, even if things seem hopeless right now.
Although I’ve supported some Republicans, I’ve mostly voted for Democrats since I first became enraptured with politics when I was in elementary school (for that, I credit my Dad, a union member and Democrat). So I’m used to disappointment and unfortunate election outcomes: Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan (governor and president); George W. Bush and others.
I’ve known many good (and bad) Democrats at the state and local levels who lost. I also remember the heartbreak I felt when Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated. Still, somehow life went on; the sun rose the next day, and eventually I recovered and regained my optimism.
You may think Trump is worse than all of them, and maybe he will be, but we need to wish him well and hope for the best even while planning for the worst. I’m going to pray that things eventually will be better than we fear because I refuse to live in dread and disappointment. Instead, I’m going to move forward and keep working for social justice and peace as well as diversity, inclusion and equity.
MLK wasn’t the first to say it, though it’s been attributed to him: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” While we may not see the arc today, I hope my family and friends will remain faithful to God, to each other and to positive social change. We will survive this election and be joyful again. So let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.