By Congresswoman Julia Brownley

Originally published in the Ventura County Star

The election may have passed, but I join millions of Americans across the country who stand firm in the resolve that our nation will be one that works for everyone — a stronger, inclusive America built around uplifting and empowering all of its citizens.

Like many Americans, I was appalled by much of the hurtful and divisive rhetoric used by Donald Trump during his campaign. His demeaning of women, people of color, immigrants, people with disabilities and even a Gold Star family was reprehensible.

Speaking with many of you in Ventura County, I know many of us agree those offensive remarks do not reflect who we are as a nation. This is true for those who voted both for and against Mr. Trump.

We are a nation built on the values of equality, opportunity and inclusivity. Our core values did not change overnight any more than they were created overnight.

Our country is more than just one election result. Our nation was born from an ideal to create a more perfect union that recognizes all men and women are created equal. Certainly, our path toward perfecting that ideal has never been, and never will be, a straight line. It will zig and zag, take us forward and sometimes take us backward. But as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. rightly pointed out, that path bends toward justice.

I hope Mr. Trump will reflect on his statements during the campaign. After recognizing the awesome responsibility before him, I hope he will understand that the words of the president of the United States impact both the nation and the world.

For those who did not support Mr. Trump, we, too, must work to find common ground and reach out to those with whom we disagree. If we do not do our part to heal the divisiveness, it will be very hard to move our nation forward.

 For my part, where there are areas of agreement with Mr. Trump, I’ll roll up my sleeves to work with him. For instance, he has expressed an interest in improving infrastructure and in better serving our veterans. We can start by addressing these priorities right away.

I hope Mr. Trump is serious about making real investments in critical infrastructure. We need to modernize our nation to compete in a 21st century global economy. These investments will generate jobs, spur our economy and better facilitate the safe and efficient flow of people and goods.

We can also cooperate by making sure every veteran receives the care and services they need, as well as benefits they have earned and deserve. That means expanding access to high-quality health care, ending veterans’ homelessness and ending the epidemic of suicide. We owe this to our veterans who made our very freedoms possible.

And where I disagree with President-elect Trump, I will stand resolute. I will stand up for social justice and for all Americans, so no one feels unsafe because of their race, sexual orientation or background. I will stand up for immigrants and call out those who denigrate them or devalue their contributions to our nation. And I will stand up not only for Gold Star families, but for Americans of all faiths.

I will be a fierce advocate for women’s rights, including the right to be treated with respect and the right to make their own health care choices without government coercion. I will stand up for the rights of all Americans to be paid fair wages, and for policies that allow parents to care for their children.

And above all else, I will stand up for the return of decency in our political discourse, without which we cannot remain the great country that we already are.

Our democracy only works when all Americans are engaged and make their voices heard not only on Election Day, but every single day. I hope everyone will do their part to right whatever wrongs they encounter in our society, contribute to worthy causes and  volunteer in our community.

Now is not the time to lose faith in our deeply held values. Now is the time to redouble our efforts and do our part to bend the arc of the moral universe more quickly and resolutely toward justice.

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