When I first started the Inspired Observer blog, my intention was to find the light even amid the darkest moments. Needless to say, after the US election on 8 November, things have felt particularly dark.
For many, the election of Donald Trump seemed as dreadful as it was unlikely, but as was the case with Brexit, those who weren’t in favour of this decision have to find a way to move forward.
It was with this in mind that I set out in search of a silver lining.
The interesting thing about searching for a silver lining is that it can begin with something very small. The first thing that came to mind in my search was a deep sense of relief that this election, irrespective of the outcome, was finally over. As I mentioned in my previous post, ‘Attempting to Shift the Tone of the US Presidential Election,’ I found aspects of this election particularly hard to stomach.
Beyond that, I am grateful for the fact that the result has been respected. Although it was not the outcome that I and many others had hoped for, it would have been far worse if either of the candidates decided to contest it. Even as people went to the polls, it was not entirely clear whether one of the candidates would concede in the event of a defeat. This led to genuine concerns that there may be violent protests following the election, so there are certainly reasons to be grateful that the democratic process has been respected.
But the ultimate silver lining here is the wider impact this election will have. The result did not merely disappoint people across America and the world, it brought many to tears, and the reason it did so is because it went against what a large part of humanity holds dear – things like racial and religious tolerance, international institutions and agreements, free trade and open borders, acceptance of migrants, gender equality and women’s rights, LGBT rights, same-sex marriage, pro-choice legislation, gun control, and measures to control climate change, to name a few.
If Secretary Clinton had won this election, people who support these causes would undoubtedly have remained committed to them, but now that these values are in jeopardy, the underlying commitment to them has been transformed in the most fundamental way. In the past few days I’ve seen how this election has invigorated people and provided them with an even stronger sense of purpose, as well as an urgency – to promote and protect these values in a way that was perhaps not as essential as it was 10 days ago. If this isn’t a silver lining, I don’t know what is.
Searching for a silver lining is not that hard to do. It begins with a conscious choice to shift our attitudes and make space for a different perspective.
While it is natural and understandable to feel disappointment, anger, powerlessness and frustration with the result of this election, dwelling in these feelings for too long is ultimately not going to help move us forward.
If we can begin to acknowledge the silver lining, this election could actually be the thing that propels humanity forward.