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Well, it is the day after the elections and I am still feeling pretty numb over the outcome. But, this numbness has been qualified by a disappointment I honestly didn’t expect.

I am disappointed in many of those who voted for Clinton with me.

Over the last 24 hours, I’ve read so many posts and overheard so many conversations that have reduced Trump supporters to racist, sexist, anti-LGBTQA, white xenophobes. Is there an element of the Trump political movement that represents each and every one of these characteristics? Absolutely. But, were these qualities alone the fuel that propelled so many to vote Trump and hand him the presidency? I’m not convinced.

The reality is many Trump supporters are angry, feel disenfranchised, and have been ignored by our political system. I think too many of Clinton’s shocked supporters (and I include myself in this) never reached across the aisle to dig beneath the Trump-supporter stereotype and find some empathy and understanding for the more moderate Trump supporter’s perspective.

To be fair, I don’t think many Trump supporters reached across the aisle to us, but (as we all learned in Kindergarten) two wrongs don’t make a right.

Both halves of this country have been living in echo chambers. All the shouting and outrage we’re individually exposed to exactly aligns with our own views. We never engage in true civic discourse. We never ask why someone else might disagree. We never try to get to know each other.

Today I decided to break this cycle for myself. I invited those in my MMM program and beyond who voted for Trump to explain to me why (and I promised to be respectful and listen). I heard some interesting and often very personal stories.

Who would you vote for if your family lost their home and your father their job in the Great Recession, yet no Wall Street bankers were punished and then these very institutions supported the opposing candidate?

Who would you vote for if the jump in your insurance premiums over the last year due to Obamacare made an important, life-changing surgery prohibitively expensive for you?

Who would you vote for if your friends back home all recently lost their factory jobs because new technologies could automate their work?

Now, I’m not saying I agree with the choices these few ultimately made, but I think I understand a little bit more why Clinton might not have been their obvious pick. When I pushed these few on the very disturbing things Trump has said about Muslims and women and Hispanic Americans and on and on, those I spoke with said the rhetoric troubled them too, but ultimately they thought it was just that, rhetoric.

While my biases as a Jew tell me that rhetoric is always where tragedies start, I found it difficult to argue with the real pain that these individuals and their families were feeling.

So, here are my hopes:

+ We all try a little harder to empathize with one another

+ We actively engage in constructive conversation with those who do not agree with us

+ We be informed enough to explain our perspective effectively and clearly

+ We respect that Trump won

And finally, though I have plenty of doubts, we now judge Trump by his actions as President, good or bad, giving him the credit should he prove so many of us wrong, but also holding him accountable should he prove so many of us right.

Though today was admittedly a difficult day, I still love America, my country. I still care about the Trump supporters in my life that I cared about 24 hours ago. I still have hope for our country over these next four years.

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September 9 – September 14 – XOXO fest

Before heading off to Japan I stopped in Portland for XOXO fest an experimental festival / conference celebrating independently produced art and technology.

XOXO

XOXO is figuratively the coolest conference on the planet. The schedule was too jam-packed to list everything, but here were the highlights for me:

      + C. Spike Trotman’s talk about working as an independent webcomic creator (check out

Iron Circus Comics

      )

 

      + Nicky Case’s

Explorable Explanations

      (you’ll probably recognize some of the simulations he has created)

 

      + An introduction to

Baman Piderman

      , the cutest and funniest web series I’ve seen by Lindsey and Alex

 

      +

Feminist Frequency

    episode screening (Anita Sarkeesian finally putting a data-driven, experienced voice to the sexism in the gaming industry a lot of women feel)

Honestly there was so much great stuff here. I am excited to go back and to continue to explore Portland (especially the food).

Benedict Bulgogi

It was also wonderful to see my friend Eli and hang with her throughout the weekend (and Riley too of course!)

Friends

Next stop: Japan!

August 15 – September 8 – Family Time

Well, I took a break from my travels to come back to Orlando for my cousins’ b’nai mitzvah. Aside from the requisite (and quite fun!) family time, I had a fairly productive few weeks in the States.

Checked off:
1) Wrote and submitted all my business school applications (6 schools)
2) Applied and was admitted to Dev Bootcamp (wahoo!!!)
3) Got into (really into) crossfit
4) Checked off all my doctors’ appointments (including more vaccines yay!)
5) Unpacked and repacked a much smaller suitcase for travels

A few pics from my time home:

Luf1 Luf 2
Fam 1 Fam 2
HP1 HP 2
BMitz Keno 1
Keno 2 Keno 3

Next up: XOXO in Portland! Then off to Japan 🙂