It’s me, Carly. Do you remember me?
I was the buck-toothed little girl with callused summer feet who used to run barefoot from one tree shadow to the next. I was that 7 year old who used to lay in the tall grass at my grandpa’s house, even though it made me itch, just so I could talk with the cloud animals; the 9 year old who heard “you can move mountains” and believed it; the 12 year old who decided I loved people I didn’t even know just because we pledged the same allegiance to the same flag; the 18 year old who got to vote for our first black president.
I felt proud. And I felt safe.
But I cry a lot more now, America. I think we all do. I don’t know if it’s because we understand more or because we understand less. But what I do know is that our “undivided nation” is feeling eerily divided these days.
This election season has left many of us feeling ashamed to be American. I too have thought, “how are there people in this country who agree with “insert candidate” or “wow, the whole world must be laughing at us.”And while it scares me that I share soil with people who are racists, bigots and war mongers (from both parties), I know better than to believe that they are America – when really, they are just fear.
America, no matter who wins this election I need you to understand something. You are beautiful and you are good. Laws might change, enemies might be created, rights might be threatened. But you are in control. You get to wake up each morning and decide the type of person you want to be.
I want to be the type of person who still talks to the sky, who smiles at strangers, who fights for what’s right with careful action, not violence. I want to be so damn kind that everyone around me has no choice but to also be kind.
Call me naive, but I simply refuse to believe that the government gets to define us or this country. You are so much more than what a politcian tells you to do with your body; you are more than tax dollars; you are more than missing emails; you are more than p*@#y grabs. You will perservere.
Tonight will leave many of us feeling like our world is shattered. Some of us will feel victorious, some will scream with the pain of loss. Feel that, let it enrage you, let it empower you. Then decide that you are in charge of what this country represents.
So I beg of you, when you look in the mirror tomorrow morning, after this mess is over, please think carefully about who you want to be . How will you choose to represent America?
This country is merely a reflection of its people. If you want to make America great again, it starts with YOU.