The election is finally over. I am so glad it is as it has been a difficult thing to witness. I am quite upset with the outcome and thought better of our country than to elect such a mean, ignorant and inexperienced person as our President. I am scared about our future in the next four years as so many others are. Mostly, I am scared for my young daughter and what it means for her as a female growing up at this time.
People have joked and some are serious about moving to Canada now that Trump has won. While I understand that notion and share their fear, I am not going anywhere. This is not just about me, this is about my family. All four of my grandparents immigrated to this great country in the 1920s and 1930s and they left parts of Russia, Romania and Latvia to find a more peaceful and tolerant country. They were welcomed and made incredible lives for themselves and their children. I am only a 2nd generation American. My father always made a big deal about voting and I know it’s because he never took for granted that he is a 1st generation American. We are quite proud of that. My grandparents worked hard and long hours while assimilating to a new culture, language and way of living while still maintaining their ethnic and religious selves. That is remarkable.
It is for this reason that I will not run. I want to teach my daughter more about her great-grandparents and ensure that she sees how important America is to our family. I want to teach her that the places where her great-grandparents came from were not always nice to Jews and that because of that living in America is a gift and a way of giving back to them as they worked so hard in order for us to have our freedom and comforts we have today.
I do not think I am being naïve. I know that our country is fractured at this time. I am not sure how we will come together. I know from my friends on social media that we all want to come together and work together and that kindness does matter. I still actually want to be a part of this country even as I shake my head with awe and worry.
I will also not run away from who I am. I am a Jewish American woman who is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin and friend who also has a chronic illness that is depression. As a mental health advocate, now more than ever, I have to stay in this great country and continue my quest for mental health parity from insurers and to continue to tell my ongoing story in order to combat the stigma and increase understanding. Yes, I am scared of what the next four years will bring but I am going to stick with it because that is what my grandparents would do, it’s what my parents would do and it is the only thing I can do.