My heart is heavy and sad for our country today. Not because of who won the election, but because of how some people are responding to the outcome. Listen, I totally get that a lot of people are afraid for the future of our country. Donald Trump was not my first pick. I didn’t vote for him in the primaries. I don’t like a lot of the things he has said about women and I agree that at times, he is a total hothead. Do I think he hates our country and has evil plans devised to tear us down? No. This is what I do know and believe: we have become a society that thinks everyone deserves a trophy whether our team won or lost. My daughter was in the baby contest at the fair this summer. There were four babies entered in her category. Instead of choosing a winner, they gave all the babies the same prize. What the heck? Not everyone gets the prize. Now, that being said, be humble in your win. And on the other side of that, be a good sport when your team does not win. In reference to the recent election, the people of the United States of America showed up and made their voices heard. I have friends on both sides of this fence. I have friends who are devastated and I have friends who are celebrating. The election is over. A president elect has been decided. Now it is our duty as Americans to respect the decision made. That does not mean you have to agree or be happy. It is okay for you to feel afraid and sad. It is okay for you to worry about the future of our country. I teach in a school where the majority of students are from a Hispanic background – many having parents who may not be legal citizens of the United States, and today they are afraid. My point is this: we as Americans have the right to protest, the right to make our voices heard. I watched a video this morning of a group of people kicking, hitting, spitting on a Trump voter. Absolutely beating him. Why? How is that going to make the situation better for them? I’ve seen video of people burning our flag, protesting in the streets, yelling “not my president.” Let me break this down for you: if you are a United States Citizen, Donald Trump is your president. When he takes oath in January, he is your new president. How is burning our flag, our beautiful flag draped in red, white, and blue, how is that going to make things better for you? The beautiful thing about our country is people have the right to their own opinion, but you are making yourselves look like idiots. Stop burning our flag. Stop beating people for not voting how you think they should have. Stop being mean. Just stop. If you want to protest, do it kindly. If you want to make your voice heard because that is your right, do it kindly. Hate does not drive out hate. You do not get a trophy if your team didn’t win on Tuesday. When I was growing up, I competed in many piano recitals. I wanted gold. I worked hard for gold. There were times, though, that I didn’t get gold. Did I stomp off the stage demanding that just because I worked hard I deserved gold? No. I determined in my mind that next time I would work even harder. I congratulated my competition and was kind to them. I might have been mad at them in my head, but on the outside, I was kind. After lots of contemplating, I chose to vote for Trump in this election. Not because he was my first pick but because in my heart, I could not side with a criminal who has lied to our country thousands of times. You do not have to agree with me. That’s the beauty of the United States. All I’m asking is that whether you are celebrating or in the depths of despair, please be kind. Please. This is the greatest country in the world. Let’s act like it. Let’s act like the UNITED States of America. Let’s hold hands and move forward.