Six Months After Election Day 2016: Life Goes On

I last posted four weeks before Election Day. When a post goes viral, it becomes even more difficult than usual to publish another post. 

I purposefully stayed quiet until after Election Day. I wanted my words to stand on their own, without any misconstrued sound bites, or being used as a political pawn. Some may argue that I made myself a pawn for Trump’s opposition simply by speaking out how I did. Others have told me that I wasted an opportunity to gain national fame and to promote my views even further. I admit, I had moments when I myself wondered how I was able to turn down interviews with the BBC, nearly every national cable news outlet, and every major Iowa television, radio, and newspaper outlet. 

At the end of the day, I firmly believed that I said my piece on this blog, and that was enough. I never anticipated for J.K. Rowling to like my tweet or to be a headline on Politico. I simply wanted to do the right thing and be a voice of reason. I was still committed to my day job of working for down ballot candidates and causes. 

Once Election Day had come and gone, and I left my full time job in politics, I thought I would have a lot to say. However, the words have been tough to piece together. Of course I was disappointed in the presidential election results. Nevertheless, I wanted our new president to surprise me and do well. At the same time, I felt for the protestors in the streets. What did we expect to happen when we elected someone who had gone out of his way to put down so many groups of people? I would never condone violence, but I do support everyone’s right to speak out in the hopes of finally being heard.

I have found myself to be in the middle of the polarized ends of this nation’s politics. I am still a Republican and do not plan to switch parties. I agree with a lot of what John Kasich has to say on this topic. While I am fully aware of how the game of politics is played, and it is all centered around the power now in Trump’s hands, I am disappointed that very few have offered a different way forward for the GOP.

On the positive side, this last election activated so many people who were fairly complacent before last fall. I love this new activism and believe some good will come out of the crazy election.

Speaking out against Trump was life changing. I strained and ended a few relationships with my words. I also made new friends from all across the United States – people who reached out to a complete stranger to say “thank you,” or “way to go.” The positive comments and messages far outnumbered the negative. I even heard from people I had not talked to in years, a few who defended my honor on the news sites where people who never met me were saying nasty things about me. I will be forever grateful to everyone who reached out to me with encouraging words. 

Prior to this post, I have done three post election interviews: a Dutch newspaper, part of a panel on Iowa Press, and a forthcoming interview with German Public Broadcasting. I will let you check out those pieces if you want a more in depth look at my views nowadays. And perhaps I will elaborate here on my blog as I continue along my journey as a somewhat rogue Republican and feel the need to speak about various topics.

In the meantime, life goes on. I returned to working at Target Optical in December and love it. I also bought a new vehicle – named Rosa Parks! – in December and moved to Des Moines in February. In addition, I have found new avenues for political involvement, including being on the board of 50-50 in 2020. My puggle Percy was “with her,” and my cat Jag is disappointed that Trump has not yet built a wall to keep all of the dogs out. 

I sometimes wonder what life would be like had I not posted my last post or resigned from the Iowa Federation of Republican Women. While I would have kept others happy, I most definitely would be feeling regret right now. Call me emotional, selfish, attention seeking, or whatever else you want. I know in my heart that I did the right thing, and for the right reasons. I prayed about the decision, talked to close friends and family, and then asked myself what I wanted to tell people when talking about the 2016 election years from now. I thought specifically of my nephew and nieces. Regardless of their future views, I know I can look them in their eyes and say that I stood for what I thought was right. And if I can do it, anyone can. That’s how we start to make the world a better place: one person at a time.


4 thoughts on “Six Months After Election Day 2016: Life Goes On

  1. Great comments Mel! Doing what you believe is right and sticking with your convictions is a quality that everyone can admire regardless of partisan views. We need more people like you, regardless of political party, having a voice and leading the way.

  2. As always Mel, you honor integrity above all else and are a strong woman who is not swayed by the crowds or the haters. I’ll always respect you for your principles and think that you bring value to all who know you. Cheers

  3. It speaks volumes about a person’s character when they refuse to jump on the bandwagon because of principal. Being a peace with yourself is better than pleasing others. Glad you stood up for your convictions. Wish more people in politics would do that.

  4. Mel, when I first read this post, I considered writing a column about your return, which I’m very happy to see BTW. But, I’m not going to do that. You deserve an opportunity to plot your own path forward without the peanut gallery offering commentary. I wish you well.

    A decade ago I was a Democrat — a Republican turned Democrat, to be exact — who had found some success within the ranks of the party. I was part of the state central committee, elected and re-elected to the post. But the more I learned, the more I felt uncomfortable with some of the internal politics and policies. Initially, like you, I pushed for changes, or at least conversations about the possibility of changes. When it became clear that wasn’t going to happen, I positioned myself on committees where I could advocate for what I thought was right, and was able to make tiny changes — changes that paid staff later attempted to over-ride.

    That was my final straw. I served the remainder of my term and, the day after it expired, I changed my party registration at the local auditor’s office. It was a difficult decision, one that cost me several longstanding relationships. But, it was also the right decision — one that I didn’t have to make while in the midst of a media firestorm, like you did.

    Ten years later, I’m still standing, still the same person with the same moral convictions. I have no regrets. I’m guessing that 10 years from now, you’ll also be the same person, proud and grateful to be standing with your moral convictions intact. In the interim, take good care of yourself.

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