(TriceEdneyWire.com)—“You see, we may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated. It may even be necessary to encounter the defeat, so that we can know who we are.”— Dr. Maya Angelou, American Author & Civil Rights Activist, Psychology Today Interview, Feb. 17, 2009
Without any fear of exaggeration, it can be said, and has been—repeatedly—that the final result of the 2016 presidential election came as a devastating blow to many Americans. The numbers bear out this truth. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes, but in the end, failed to secure the win. So as the reality of an American future under Trump began to sink in, many anticipated the worst and lost hope. But as this year comes to a close and many of us are preoccupied with giving or getting gifts, it occurred to me that the election outcome has awakened and energized millions of Americans.
Each unprecedented challenge to everything from immigration policy to the freedom and relevancy of the press, has nurtured a common sense of purpose among Americans from all walks of life. From sea to shining sea, those committed to building and sustaining a better and more equitable America, conclusively demonstrate an often-repeated truth: democracy is no spectator sport.
To be clear, there was never—and never will be—a right time to sit and watch from the comfort of the sidelines. A democracy deprived of the active, vocal and voting engagement of its citizens is a democracy in name only. Rather than stand by complacently as the current administration volleys direct assaults on our nation’s most vulnerable and attempts to wipe out the incremental civil and economic and social gains we have made with the casual stroke of a heartlessly wielded pen or the decrees of uninstructed policies, we have traded hopelessness for the engagement, despair for activism, and defeat for victory.
The results speak for themselves. Doug Jones’s win in deep-red Alabama will send to Congress the state’s first senator elected by a multi-racial coalition. Voters of color also were largely responsible for Ralph Northam victory in the Virginia governor’s race, Danica Roem became the first openly transgender person to be elected to the state’s legislature, and Justin Fairfax won the lieutenant governor’s race, becoming the second African American to win the post. And there are more victories where those came from. Black women—who are substantially showing up and showing out at the polls—are also getting elected into many of these offices. African American women stand at the helm of the cities of Charlotte, Atlanta, New Orleans, and more, as their mayors. And the wins don’t stop at the ballot box.