People wait in line at polling place on Election Day in Silver Spring, Md. (Jose Luis Magana/AP)

This week we celebrate not wins or losses but the strength of our democracy. This was our moment to stand up and reaffirm who we are as Americans. Would we continue to let the great promise of our democracy be consumed by the flames of fear, hate and division? Or would we, as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said, allow justice to “roll down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream” and quench those flames?

Abraham Lincoln said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” This week we saw more than 100 women elected in the House (including the first two Native American women, the first two Muslim women and the youngest woman ever elected). In a year when it feels as if LGBTQ Americans have been under constant threat, the first openly gay man was elected governor of the same state where a baker refused to bake a custom wedding cake for a gay couple.

There were disappointments, ideas whose time had almost come, leaders who seemed to be the best choice but somehow fell short of victory. But it should not be lost on any of us what was accomplished. They kicked open the door of “what if” and inspired many more Americans to be actively engaged in this grand idea of democracy.

The two years between now and the next election will seem like a blink of an eye. It will be exhausting, but we cannot let up.

Crys Matthews, Herndon