“The system did not fail you. Your fellow Americans did.”

I have written and rewritten this piece three times now. Uncertain of how to express how I’m feeling because in our current state of affairs if you are not angry, if you are not expressing hurt, if you are not chastising and criticizing, you are silent.
I have been relatively silent.

I have been silent because as I eagerly took in the election results on Nov. 8, watching red state after red state appear on my living room TV I knew this was going to be like no other election.
I have been silent because I am a Trump supporter. Donald J. Trump was not my first choice candidate but he soon became the best choice for me. Though his words have been hurtful and his past questionable, what he proposes to do is a beacon of hope to me and my family. Because I believe actions speak louder than words and the actions and arguably inactions of Hillary Clinton were something I could not support.

I voted on principles of economics, healthcare reform and foreign policy. Social issues have not been my top priority. Not because I am ignorant to others suffering, not because I do not care. Because I simply do not align with either party. Because I live by the mantra of you live your life and I’ll live mine. Because I consider myself a true believer in minimum government where they should not be in my healthcare, not in my school and not in my bedroom.
But my values and principles are not what I wish to discuss, nor the reasons why I choose to support Donald Trump.
I wish to write about what it is to be an American, what it is to have patriotism and why the results of this election have shown that we have lost that.

I want to fully express that I do not blame the Democratic Party for the things I will be referencing. Hillary Clinton made a gracious and tactful concession speech on Nov. 9. She expressed her hope that her supporters would respect and accept Trump as their president. She admitted there would be hurt but she did not call for what unfolded in the 48 hours following the election. No Democrat did.

I found myself disgusted, disturbed and ashamed of the individuals whom I know and those I do not. Those who claimed Trump is “not my president” and who destroyed the American flag. Who harshly ridiculed those who supported the Republican candidate because in their heart of hearts, that’s what they felt was best.
I am not sitting here on my protected soap box saying that those who felt so strongly should not feel hurt. You are entitled to your pain. You are entitled to express yourself. In our great, beautiful country you are given that right. You are protected under the First Amendment to burn the American flag, even though most of you doing so never fought to protect it with your own life. But I digress.

I am disgusted that in America, a nation among few which has democratic elections, Americans have been acting the way they have. Rioting in the streets (though again–I know they can.)
Though at the time of this story no reports of deaths have been made, I was watching TV and I heard a young woman say on a broadcast that lives on both sides would be lost to make a change.
But why? In America, we have this amazing opportunity to become involved in the political scene. You can volunteer, campaign, lobby, write. You are not told that you cannot actively participate.
You actively decide not to.

I read so much on Americans saying the electoral college must go. The system is a failure. Both sides reported this all along. But as the popular vote rolled in for Clinton and the electoral college rose in Trump’s favor, winning him the election, it was not the system that failed the American public.
It was the public itself.

According to the Insider Business, 131 million ballots were cast. The difference between Trump and Clinton was not huge. But out of all eligible voters only 57 percent bothered to show up at the polls.
The system did not fail you. Your fellow Americans did.
As I sit here writing this piece, I already know there will be people who scoff. Who will claim I have no right to say what I am saying. Though isn’t it funny how I absolutely do?

I am not chastising those who feel differently than I do. Because we do have the right to speak, to assemble, and to petition. We are given this right because we live in a country that has given us that because of the men and women who have fought and some lost their lives to protect that.

I do not write this to shame and to cause more unrest. I write this to say that in all of the chaos this election season has given, how amazing is it that we have the right to conduct ourselves the way we have. To protest. To speak out. To live.
I know people fear for the future. But I do not because we live in a nation of checks and balances–yes, even with a Republican majority in the House and Senate. We live in a system of hope, that other nations only dream of achieving. The turmoil will end. Time will go on and hopefully the Trump presidency will bring about positive change for all Americans.