No matter what you have to say about today, there is someone in the country who will whole-heartedly disagree with you. I understand that for many, today is a day to celebrate; to look at the future with optimism and excitement because the changes you’ve been waiting for are finally going to come. That is just as insane in my mind as it would to these people if I told them today feels like the beginning of the end. It feels as if every progressive achievement this country has made over the last two or three generations was only being tolerated and humored. I can see my country’s true face, which I suppose I always could.

This election has been surreal and often times I was convinced it was some sort of practical joke. I spent most of the evening on November 8 thinking, “This can’t be real. It just can’t.” Here is the point where the people who find today to be a joyous occasion may read my words and accuse me of being overly dramatic or a sore loser. You are not meant accept the complete disregard for decency with a smile. I won’t go into all the bullet points about why this person should have never gotten as far in the campaign as they did. We’ve been flooding our Facebook and Twitter feeds with these facts for months and it did nothing. Our neighbors (in some instances our family and friends) still voted against our wishes or decided they didn’t care much either way and sat it out.

There is no room in this country for hate and there is even less room for apathy.

All that being said, we are not beyond hope. It would be very easy to fall into a depression and consider the country we had envisioned to be lost. We also can’t shun those who voted the other way. We are supposed to be United. We are all supposed to be the people. A very important thing to remember is that there is hate on both sides and thereĀ areĀ also concerned citizens on both sides with their own reasons for voting the way they did. It’s hard to not go against each other because it is in our nature. I don’t want to hate anyone but I’ll admit that I do. When I see the horrible, unjust things that people say to each other online I feel saddened and shocked, but then I say things that are just as bad among my friends. I don’t hide the fact that I hate certain people and feel I’m justified to do it. The people I hate, however, are those who hate others because of who they are, what they look like, how they choose to live their lives, where they’re from, or what they need. I’ll never understand this kind of hatred so I despise it and any group who practices it.

Today is the first day of what is sure to be a very long four years. Today is not, however, the beginning of the end. This country will change but we will not see the end of it. All we can do is live each day as we wish to live it and stand up for one another. I am a straight, Hispanic, cis-male atheist. I may only check off a few of the boxes deemed worthy of being hated openly but for all those who check off so many more, I will stand with them.

Tomorrow is the Women’s March on Washington. Whether on the streets or watching in solidarity, I recommend supporting the first step we will take in the right direction after this inauguration.