I spent most of election day in Pantsuit Nation, the not so secret Facebook group of 3.5 million people who supported Hillary Clinton. It was a beautiful place to be. Women shared their stories of a long struggle for equality, and men shared their support for the women in their lives. Pantsuit Nation represented the wide diversity of our country - women and men, straight and LGBTQ, black, brown and white, muslim, Jewish, and christian, old and young. The shared enthusiasm of finally being able to vote for a woman for president and the incredible support each poster received was a salve. One I needed after the PTSD minefield this campaign season has been for me.
I knew that Pantsuit Nation was a virtual bubble similar to the physical one that is my West Philadelphia neighborhood. A place with Jewish and mixed faith families just like mine. Where progressive liberal households are the norm. Home to our neighborhood school that represents and celebrates an incredible diversity of races, faiths and backgrounds. Poverty, unemployment, struggling schools and incarceration that disproportionally impacts my brown and black neighbors also exist in the edges of my West Philly bubble. These all shape my view of the nation and what is right and wrong with it.
It would be easy in response to Trump winning for me to retreat back into my bubble and find comfort with those who share my values. But I can't see how this country can move forward without both sides understanding each other. So I began engaging in every conversation I could with Trump supporters. (This mostly happens online because my West Philly bubble doesn't have me bumping into them at the local coffee shop). I feel a desperate need to understand how Trump voters could overlook what appeared to me to be a unhinged candidate with no experience or firm policy positions. Not to mention all the sexist, racist and xenophobic words he uttered, and the supporters he collected along the way (hello KKK). I want to understand what is happening in their lives? Are they unemployed? Struggling to make ends meet? Battling a health crisis? What are the personal issues that guided their vote and what did they see in Trump that makes them believe he will make things better.
So while I'm prepared to organize and fight for the values I hold dear - values that appear to be in danger with a Trump presidency, I'm also breaking my bubble. I do this with a curious mind and an open heart. I hope others on both sides of this divided nation will do the same.