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If you're ever gonna find a silver lining, it's gotta be a cloudy day.

My parents taught me that you don’t know what another person thinks or feels unless you take the time to listen. It’s incumbent upon each of us to take an interest in the hopes and joys, and yes the complaints and disaffection of those who share this time and space with us.

I’ve spent much of my adult life struggling for acceptance. I’ve demanded it of my family and society. So how can I in good conscious not accept that others are struggling for that same acceptance? They deserve no less than what I myself have asked for.

I by no means condone bigotry, hatred, misogyny or racism. While I understand that it would be easier to paint everyone on the other side with that brush, it’s simply not true. Good people voted for him last night.

Good people who didn’t feel that they had a choice. We’ve all been there. This was just another illustration of what people will do when they feel cornered.

What last night reminded me of is this: I need to listen to those different than myself, just as I demand the same of them. I cannot have for myself what I’m not willing to give. That’s it in a nutshell.

Only when we’re willing to listen to each other without condoning or condemning, will things begin to change. It’s a choice we all need to consider deeply. We no longer have the luxury of “us versus them”. The planet is dying, we’re killing ourselves with addiction and fear has held too strong a grip on all of us for too long.

We have always taken horrible, foolish steps backwards. Our nation is and has always been the Gemini twins. Never quite sure if it’s the progressive or reactionary face it wants to show to the world and ourselves.

Despite this, we manage to find our way to the light. Ask the grandchildren of slaves, the daughters of suffragettes and your gay and lesbian children. Somehow, we manage to make this wild, crazy, often unmanageable place we call America, a better place for each successive generation.

But it’s work. Hard work. Tear inducing, rage inspiring, blood boiling work. It always has been and always will be. If nothing else, last night was a reminder that an America worth having comes with this very large caveat.

As a country we went to bed last night and saw a very different place in the mirror this morning. The progressive America of the past 8 years simply went into exile last night. I’m too much of an optimist to believe otherwise. That optimism is informed by my faith in us as a people in the end to do what’s right.

I saw a graphic this morning that reinforced that belief. It was a map of the US and it was a sea of blue. It displayed how the 18-24 set voted last night and it was nearly unanimous.

The largest cohort of humanity to grace this nation is deeply progressive. To my fellow activists take heart in that. We’ve already won the war.

Time and demographics are on our side. The exile will end. The future is a bright and progressive one.

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