I know that some of you are hurting right now. Like many around the world, you’re wondering – where did it all go wrong? Like many, you’re wondering how you went from a President such as Obama, one who didn’t have any controversies, who spoke well, was funny, eloquent, and always strives to show how America could be better – a President who personified his campaign slogan of Hope – to a President such as Donald Trump, who is seen by many as racist, sexist, and a bigot who spreads fear and prejudice.
Being on holidays at the moment, I was able to sit down and watch the coverage most of the day. And the feeling within me as it went from an almost certain Clinton victory at the start of the day, through to Trump’s victory speech, was something I don’t want to have very often. And I’m sure it was much worse for those of you who live in America and who love your country, and really wanted to see the Hope continue. Or those that just knew that racism, sexism, bigotry, fear and prejudice are not values that are desirable in a President.
And I’m sure that many of you, facing a reality of Trump as President, are feeling things similar to many around the world – fears of what this might bring, fears of future war, of discrimination and hatred spreading, of vigilantes and state-sponsored terrorism, of public acceptance of sexist or racist comments.
But I want to say to you tonight: Don’t lose that hope.
The hope that you had that Hillary might have brought. The hope that you felt Obama had. The hope for a better America, a better world. Don’t lose hold of that.
The fears that you have around what Trump might bring: hold onto those as well. Hold onto the fear that racism will spread, that sexism will be seen as normal, that bigotry, discrimination, and hate will be seen as the norm. Hold onto that.
As you hold your hopes and fears in tension, determine what it is that you are going to do about it. The reality is that while in a general manner our world leaders have some effects on our lives, in the end they will have little direct influence over our life. We are the people who will determine the sort of world we live in.
So as you hold your hopes and fears in tension, determine what it is that you are going to do about it. Determine what it is that you can do to make your hopes come true. Determine what it is that you can do to stop your fears from happening.
Stand up against racist comments. Stand up against sexist remarks and so-called ‘locker room talk’ (which many sports stars rightly said would never be heard in a locker room). Take every opportunity to spread life, love, hope, and acceptance. Make a stand for justice, equality and hope. Do what you can to care for the environment, and to show love to your neighbour, whoever that might be.
Hold onto that hope. Stand up to those fears. “Be the change you want to see in this world.” Because if we can all start to change the world that is around us, as we all do that, we will all see the whole world rise to the occasion, and find that we are all best when we work together for justice, equality, hope, life, and love.