The e-mails between my family members started circulating the morning of Nov. 9, the day after what at least some of us considered a devastating political defeat.
“Lori wants to leave the country,” wrote one family member, based on comments I apparently muttered at 5 a.m. after learning of Trump’s astounding electoral upset. I had reminded my husband the previous night that perhaps we should open a file with Nefesh B’Nefesh, the organization that helps English-speaking Jews make aliya.
After watching Hillary’s concession speech the next morning, curled up in bed in my pajamas, I found myself in tears listening to her parting address:
But notwithstanding the fact that it is not so easy to pick up and move to another country (does anyone really think there will be a spike in immigration to Canada following Trump’s win — Justin Trudeau’s popularity notwithstanding?), there are other values that I cherish as a citizen and resident of the United States. In a democracy with a strong tradition of upholding the freedom of the press, I can, as a journalist, bring awareness to the issues that matter in public discourse. Through my blogging and freelance reporting on women’s, Jewish, and international issues, I can hold Trump accountable not only for his views, but for his actions once he is president.
By no means is my reaction the only valid one for those American Jews on the fence about moving to Israel following Trump’s election. It’s definitely an understandable, even legitimate, response to fears that the United States will no longer be a beacon of light and tolerance, that non-citizens will no longer feel at home here, that perhaps there will be a surge in anti-Semitism, that our nation will close itself off from the world.
But aside from the fact that Trump will have to learn to deal with the world as it actually is, not only as he wishes it to be — and with the acknowledgement that a Clinton presidency would be far from utopic — I believe I have a role to play here as a member of the “opposition.”
Without a doubt, the defeat of our first woman presidential candidate hurts incredibly, and I am nervous for the country’s future. But among all the nations, the United States’ democratic principles run deep, and our founding was based on the right to live in freedom from persecution and bigotry.
So, I will continue to fight for what’s dear to me, other Americans, and all those concerned about civil rights and tolerance on a global scale. Because anything less than that would be unacceptable to me — regardless of which side of the ocean I live on.
This article originally appeared in The Times of Israel.