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Donald Trump has made me a better American

On November 8, 2016, I woke up a decent American. After all, I voted. I paid my taxes. I watched fireworks on the 4th of July and would even tear up a bit when I sang “God Bless America.”

On November 9, 2016, I woke up a devastated American. I was shocked. I felt like I had been sucker punched. I knew this world — a world with Donald Trump at the helm — would be a different one. What I didn’t expect then — in the midst of my fear and tears, was that it would make me a better American.

I remember going to college back in 2005 and feeling like the world was opening itself up to me. I was a small town girl and it is probably safe to say I was pretty small minded as well. While I had been old enough to vote in the 2004 Presidential election, I was not mature enough. Looking back – I had no real political opinions or beliefs of my own. I was armed only with what I had heard my entire life. In essence, I was a parrot for the beliefs of others and I blindly repeated their beliefs all the way to the voting booth.

But when I went to college, I suddenly found myself in a world where parroting would no longer cut it. I was often asked what I believed and why I believed it. And even more, the people who asked me weren’t satisfied with rhetoric alone. They wanted facts. They wanted statistics. They wanted evidence. So nineteen year old Kate went in search of it. And during the course of my investigation, my entire political worldview changed. I became a person who was well informed. I became a person who donated to political campaigns and occasionally attended rallies. And I became a person who was no longer a parrot of the opinions and beliefs I had heard my entire life. Rather, I became a person who had my own opinion — my own voice.

And that’s the person I was on November 8, 2016. A decent American. I knew what I believed and I knew why I believed it. I also believed in civility and decorum and respect and kindness; so yes, November 9, 2016 was hard for me.

But on November 10, 2016, I saw a quote online: “They tried to bury us. They did not know we were seeds.”

That quote stuck with me for weeks. Months. Some days, I felt buried without purpose. But on others, I would look at my daughter and I would determine that I had to be a seed. If I was buried, I would bloom. For her. For her generation.

I am not the same person I was on November 9, 2016. Now, I donate monthly to a variety of causes and organizations that matter to me including Planned Parenthood, International Rescue Committee, Earth Justice and NPR among others. Now, I attend town halls and I call my Senators and Representatives weekly. Now, I track pending legislation online and work with lobbying groups to ensure that my voice is heard. Now, I use Holland’s weekend nap times to attend community meetings and listen to what’s going on in my own backyard and perhaps formulate ways that I can help.  Now, I use my voice — and this blog — to reach out to people who might otherwise not have an opportunity to hear about important things.

So yes, I am a better American — hell, a better human being — now than I was on November 8, 2016. Over the next four years I do not anticipate that Donald Trump or anyone in his administration will do many things that will cause me to give thanks. But regardless of how dark things become, I will forever be thankful that I am better person today than I was then.

I am a buried seed and I will keep going until I see the light.

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