Dear Claire and Fiona and Hannah,
In his remarks this morning, Senator Tim Kaine quoted William Faulkner: "They killed us, but they ain't whupped us yet!" It feels like that this morning: and I can't get over how subdued folks are. In coffee shops. On the street. Everywhere. Santa Cruz itself feels like a sunny, outdoor funeral parlor.
And I'm especially sad, and angry too, about these results--because I know how deeply you believed in Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. You recognized in them your own hopes and dreams for America. And that moved me very much. Hannah went door-to-door for Bernie. The three of you traveled around the state to rallies. You believed--as Mom and I did--that there was progress to be made. That the country was ready to take that step. That bigotry couldn't possibly win the day.
This morning, I'm disappointed. I'm disappointed in men, a lot of men, who failed to stand up to a demagogue's misogyny and vote him out. I'm disappointed in college-educated people, a lot of them, who failed to draw on wisdom and courage and voted instead for an anti-intellectual cartoon.
And, maybe most of all, I'm disappointed in Christians (my people, as you know). Because I look at the electoral map, and I see those bright bands of red running across the so-called Bible Belt. (And up the Midwest.) And I realize--as we all must--that millions and millions of Christians voted for a grotesque and greedy man, who viciously attacks and objectifies women, who humiliates the disabled, who shows nothing but contempt for immigrants and Muslims and on and on. How do they make sense of their votes? I really want to understand this. How do they account for voting for a man who has done nothing with his life but make gobs of money, make fun of others, stalk contestants at beauty pageants and play us for fools? In what possible way does electing Trump president fit a religious or ethical vision for this country? Love your neighbor? Not Trump. Honor women? Not Trump. Protect the vulnerable? Not Trump. Cherish the earth and defend the sacred earth? Are you kidding me?
Who are these Christians? I have no clue. Their religion makes no sense to me.
But tonight, I'm leaving the election behind and turning to the future. Because I believe Tim Kaine is right: "They killed us, but they ain't whupped us yet!" There's already an enormous movement--and it's going to grow--around Black Lives Matter and healing this country of its racism and bigotry. There's already an energized movement--and it's going to grow--to stand with Standing Rock and honor native peoples and protect the holy land from corporate degradation and greed. And there's already a bold movement of women--like the three of you--who will not stand for sexism and violence and intimidation. Tonight, I'm leaving the election behind, and I'm recommitting my life and my energies and my church to that!
Because democracy's not about a single election, or a couple of candidates. Democracy's about you and me. It's about our fierce loyalty to the friends we love, and the neighbors we cherish, and even the unknown citizens in other places whose dreams and hopes should matter to us. Democracy is working for new laws, and pressuring lawmakers to pursue peace not war. And democracy is organizing with friends and colleagues to do nonviolence and civil disobedience when it's necessary--to pursue the common good.
Your Mom and I love the three of you with all our hearts. You are amazing young women. And I want you to know we're in this struggle--for you, for America and for justice--for the long haul. They may have knocked us upside the head last night; but they ain't whupped us yet. We're going to do better.
With all my love and respect,