what now? // reflections on the american presidential election

the-romantic-the-winoThe past 48 hours have taken a toll on us. On all of us.

Like so many, we waited for November 8, 2016 for a long time. After proudly casting our Pennsylvania state ballots, we watched the results come in on Tuesday night from our respective couches, across an ocean and across timezones, 3,500 miles apart.

We were confident that the American people would elect the most qualified candidate; the person who had spent years fighting for women and children, supporting our beloved New York City during a time of tragedy and heartbreak, traveling the globe representing our country, and dedicating her life to the American people. We were 110% ready for this person to become President of the United States and bring an end to the embarrassing barrage of hateful, racist, misogynistic, and xenophobic commentary over the last few months.

And hey, breaking the glass ceiling and proving once and for all that women truly can achieve the same successes as men would have been a pretty stellar bonus.

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As the night wore on, our confidence turned to hope, then disbelief, then shock, and finally, in the early hours of the morning, despair. As the sun came up in London, and then in Philadelphia, we started to mourn. Yesterday was a tough day.

We started this site five years ago as a place to share our travels. Over the years, we’ve gotten to know our readers — some have even become dear friends offline and in real life. Because of this, we’ve also become more comfortable letting you into our personal lives. We’ve introduced you to our husbands, friends and family, shared the birth of Ashley’s baby, talked about our careers, and more.

We still have many, many travel stories to tell. But today, we need time to process our emotions, gather our thoughts, and begin to heal. And we want to do that with you, too.

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We are grieving, like so many others, and possibly like you. For those who are going through the same roller coaster of emotions, we wanted to provide you with a short list of things you can do TODAY, this very instant, to make a difference.

Talk to each other // Hands down, the most therapeutic thing we did yesterday was talk to each other. All day long, we talked to each other. We received endless text messages, calls, and emails from our friends, family, coworkers and acquaintances. Knowing that our network is even more far-reaching than we realized provided comfort when we needed it most.

We’ve made a point to reach out to those we know are feeling  this way, too. Something as small as a supportive comment on Facebook or a text saying “I love you” can mean so much.

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Donate // Philanthropy can be difficult at any age, but especially for millennials. It’s hard to part with our hard-earned money for causes that seem weary, and for battles that will likely last much longer than anticipated. But, working for a women’s college, Carolyn can attest that even the smallest gift can make a difference to a well-deserved cause, especially when done en masse.

Furthermore, if you can’t donate money, you can donate time. It’s something we’re promising to do in 2017, and we plan to share with you, too.

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We’re thinking long and hard about the issues that are most dear to us, and we’re vowing to gift back to a few organizations — today and throughout the holiday season.

Looking for inspiration? Here are a few ideas:

We also love this post and this post full of organizations that need our help now, and certainly will over the next four years.

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Speak Up // Giving is a start, but we’re also searching for daily, active ways to make a change. In yesterday’s darkness, it was easy to criticize ourselves for not being more involved, more active, and more outright about our beliefs during this campaign. Moving forward, we want to learn more, read more, volunteer more, and fight passionately — but RESPECTFULLY — for our beliefs. One of the absolute best things about America is our right to free speech. Utilize it.

Research your community outreach. Find out what you do at home, where you’re needed, and how you can help. This can feel more daunting when you’re living outside the US, but Democrats Abroad is a great place to start.

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Spread LOVE // Love will always, always trump hate. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that, especially in a time when hate seems to have won. Tell people, calmly and rationally, when you don’t agree with their rhetoric. Give a stranger a compliment. Smile at someone, just because.

Do your part by trying to spread love near and far, today and moving forward.

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To those who are struggling with this outcome, we hear you. If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, or worse, unsafe and marginalized, please reach out. We’ll happily give you an ear or a shoulder or at the very least, an onslaught of cute animal photos we find on Buzzfeed.

We’re stronger together.

Ashley & Carolyn

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4 Comments

  1. Louise Peters
    November 10, 2016 / 16:43

    Dear Ashley,
    I sent this to Val yesterday & now a copy to you.
    As Mrs Clinton said in her beautifully articulated speech yesterday, we have successes and
    setbacks. This setback filled with strong emotions is one of those times. Hope, one of the
    strongest, can carry us forward. Giving us the impetus to heal over time and to never forget
    that together we are capable of achieving and maintaining that which makes our Country
    so great. “Our Freedom To Be”
    With Love and Hope, Grandmom

  2. November 11, 2016 / 03:35

    Well said, many of us have been feeling grief. I never cry and I have cried the last two days. I look at my daughter and cry even more. Today, I have felt re-energized to get out there and fight for what is right. My family are getting active in our community organizations and surrounding ourselves with hope. I have found a lot of support in our travel community, which is appreciated since I haven’t even received it from members of our own family. It has been rough, lots of arguments. The holidays are going to be great! Haha.

    • November 11, 2016 / 09:32

      know that you are not alone in your grief, and we hope this post gave you at least a small amount of comfort. the silver lining is that many of us now feel re-energized and ready to advocate for what we believe is right. and, we can highhhly recommend a friendsgiving as a holiday alternative 😉

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