Hopeful post-election thoughts from one year ago 20

Immediately after Trump had won the electoral college, I posted the following message on Facebook in a fit of bravery and clarity.

Soon after, I descended into a deep depression before starting the Americans of Conscience checklist. Looking back, I’m amazed how well this message holds up. I’d love to know your thoughts.

If we were going to dwell on it, we could find a lot of blame to go around regarding how this election favored the least “Republican” candidate in history. If we wanted to, we could focus all of our energy blaming the outcome… on the deliberate mind games playing to the fears of a certain population of Americans, on the rise of “reality” TV, on the 30+ years of erosion of democratic goodwill and collaboration, on our neighbors’ unconscious misogyny, on the late-breaking oh-nevermind email scandal, on the social media echo chamber, and the list goes on and on. But. Finger pointing never solved anything. To be blunt, blame is weak and lazy.

The work starts now. Today. If you care about the well-being of women, gays and lesbians, immigrants (recent and past), people of color, worshipers of a different god or prophet… If you care that some people were *literally* scared to stand in line to vote on Tuesday… If you care about the youngest generation who does not understand why the scary man got elected, we have GOT to be vocal.

Instead of blame, we’re going to be a part of the solution. This means reaching out to the marginalized in the street, in line for coffee, at local events. It means making eye contact with strangers in greeting, rather than suspicion. It means calling out injustice in schools, at work, and in our homes–even when it feels horribly awkward–and speaking truth to power. It means consciously choosing to appeal the better natures of our fearful but otherwise gregarious, generous, and kindhearted countrymen and women–and encourage them to rise up above those unfounded fears. When their candidate fails to deliver in the coming year, we can focus on being helpful rather than right.

Bottom line? We’re Americans. This country is founded on the belief that there’s enough freedom for every single one of us to have a fair share of it. We aren’t blamers, we’re do-ers. In the words of one unnamed Irishman, “You can depend on Americans to do the right thing—once they have exhausted every other possibility.” Right now, we’re going to keep going high until we’ve exhausted this most onerous, four-year “possibility.” That’s because I believe with all my heart that we can—and will—do the right thing eventually.

Today, in the wake of this year’s election firsts—of Black Americans, transgender Americans, Sikh Americans, single mom Americans, out lesbian Americans, Latina Americans, and numerous female Americans—I sincerely think we’re getting there.

I knew we would.

20 thoughts on “Hopeful post-election thoughts from one year ago

  • Sureyya Husain

    Jennifer, hang in there, but as a Muslim, American, woman–we are out there struggling too. It would be nice to be included, since we have most certainly been targeted, and are doing our share.

    • Jennifer Hofmann Post author

      Hi, Sureyya.

      Thank you so much for the comment. I hear you and honor your feelings of feeling excluded, unjustly targeted, and doing work that is unrecognized. It *is* a struggle to be Muslim in our country, and the fact that you’re engaged and working for justice needs recognition. If my writing led to you feel those things more acutely, I sincerely apologize. I strive to be inclusive and intersectional in my writing, so if I missed the mark, I would welcome feedback (if you’re willing) on how I could do better. Thank you for showing up for justice and equality. I stand with you in working toward that goal.


  • Beverly Doyle

    I LOVE your thoughts here, as well as similar thoughts you recently posted. I have forwarded them to many people. Interestingly, I actually lost one “friend” as a result. She thinks these ideas, aimed at healing and moving forward, are all wrong for party and country. Too bad . . . she is still very deeply angry that Hillary lost and, despite claiming to be a “good Christian”, is not ready to forgive. I will miss her, because underneath that anger, she really is a good soul, but something about the Trump election just flipped a switch in her. I fear that is true for quite a few others. Please continue with your uplifting messages.

  • Barb

    I agree and want to thank you for your powerful leadership role. I receive your weekly To Do List and have been pretty faithful in responding. Once I got started, it became easy to make the calls and write the emails. Again, thank you for helping so many of us become activists in a positive, constructive manner.

  • Corinne Scheman

    Beautifully said, as always, Jennifer. This inspiring message holds as true today as it did a year ago and will continue to inspire me to go high when those in power go low, to hold on to hope, and most importantly to continue to work for an America that I believe is possible. Your words continue to help me preserver and do the next right thing in the face of the sadness and distress that is being created by those in power.

  • Kitty Williamson

    Thank you for your wonderful newsletter. I read each issue eagerly. It’s a bit of sanity in this crazy world, and you give great ideas of action steps to take….which I have taken to heart.

  • Janet Weissman-Voigt

    Even though I haven’t been able to follow through every week, having your weekly lists keeps it all on the top of my list…thanks for helping be an important “instruction” manual for all of us.

    • Jennifer Hofmann Post author

      I hope we’re both right!

      You’re welcome to share the link to the post on social media, but request you not reblog as it violates my copyright. Thanks for sharing the love!

  • Kim Cromwell

    I don’t know you, Jennifer, but I feel you are my friend. Thank you for championing the rights of those who have been disenfranchised, for taking the high road, for standing tall in what sometimes feels like a stiff wind. I take great comfort in your messages, and excerpt from them in my own email every 10 days or so to about 350 people who care about these issues as we do. Together, we will persist — with hope and love and feistiness in our hearts. Thank you, thank you from all of us!!!

  • Susan Simmons

    This is the first time I’ve read your Facebook post. It brought me to tears, because everything you said was so right, as in “do the right thing”. Without consciously realizing it, I have felt kinder, gentler and more sensitive towards others since this catastrophe happened to our country. I have been more activist as well,(following your checklist suggestions🙂).
    I’m an old leftist activist from way back, and when Obama was elected, I thought, okay we did it, now I can relax a bit. I thought we were on the way to a better society. How naive of me. So now I’m back out there, but I’m getting old. I’m glad some of you, many of you are continuing the struggle for justice and equality. I’ll keep at it as long as I can though, because it’s our world, and our people, it’s all of us.

  • Karen Schembs

    Your original thoughts are coming true much due to your soul searching and work. I enjoy everything you write and it inspires me
    to stay in a positive frame of mind even when things get difficult. I have forwarded your weekly posts to many friends who
    also follow your uplifting suggestions. You even remind us to take those breaks as needed to keep up the long term comittment
    to work for change and solutions. I am truly grateful for you and your now team who help us stay on track. Yesterday’s election results
    are hopeful.

  • Barbara Jung

    You inspire me and because of your amazing emails it has been so much easier to make the calls and write the emails. We have made a difference and we can continue to do that to create a democracy that works.

  • Shirley

    Jennifer, thank you for those words. Last night lifted our hearts. Yes, we will win. Good will win! And we must move onward and forward and keep the faith!

  • Ginny Lowery

    I so deeply appreciate the thoughts and feelings that you shared following this election so disastrous for our country. Your weekly suggestions for action and topics of concern have been an immense help in focusing my efforts to turn our nation back towards all of the goodness and light that it represents. You have been an inspiration to me to send messages to Congress with the assistance of Resistbot and to write postcards to help get out the vote in various elections across the land. Thank you for taking on such an enormously important task! Peace and light to you!

  • Kim Luxhoj

    Hi Jen. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for all your hard work. Your dedication to rekindling democracy in America has, in no small part, been responsible for yesterday’s election results. However, as I’m sure you have already figured out, there’s so much more to do. Strengthening healthcare, the so-called tax ‘reform’, gerrymandering, and voter suppression are just a few of the areas that need constant vigilance. And, of course, next year, we have the all-important mid-term elections. So, keep up the good work. Keep us informed and engaged, and I’m confident we’ll have even more success in the coming months and in 2018.


  • jeanne powrie

    i once heard a rabbi talk about peace in the middle east and he said “if hope didn’t exist, we would have to invent it”
    I am now 77 which means i can no longer refer to myself as middle aged. At 19 my parents tried, with the help of a psychiatrist, to convince me i should commit myself to the state hospital for electroshock treatment because we all realized i was/ am a lesbian. When i was 19 i helped integrate housing in Klamath Falls and lost my first federal job for my stance. I stood in the rain with 5 others in a silent vigil against the war in Viet Nam until one day there were 55,000 of us in the streets of Portland. Pascal was right when he said ‘the heart has its reasons that reason does not know’. In spite of this i forgot that there is always darkness before the shift to light. This has been a very hard year for me but last night i was reminded that, as the I Ching says :perserverence furthers. I CANNOT EXPRESS THE GRADITUDE I FEEL FOR KNOWING I AM NOT ALONE….. we change the world because of people like you Jennifer. THANK YOU SO MUCH

  • Jeanne Arnold

    You are awesome and I am sending this to so many people. Yes we need to be reminded of these words one year in, when some days it seems like the women’s march was 10 years ago and not enough has been accomplished. It’s so inspiring to hear you remind us of the power of love.

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