What Have We Done?: The Election, Part 2

2016-11-09-the-election-part-ii

So here we are, in a place many of us didn’t think we would be, hoped we wouldn’t be. And a lot of us are taking this personally. I know we are all tired of the criticism and bickering and hatred being flung around by those of both political parties — and those outside of either one — but we’re passionate about this. And we’re passionate about this stuff because it matters. It matters to me that my social media feeds are filled with fear and despair. I’m filled with fear and despair. You can think me a sore loser if you want — of course I’m upset my candidate lost. I’m actually allowed — allowed to feel sad and grieve and even be a little angry. We’re all allowed to feel however we feel, forever and ever amen.

I’ll share my perspective, and then I’d love to hear yours, if you’re willing to share it without insult.

I feel like we’ve lost something important in this country. This election is an indication that things have gone awry. We’re polarized, and we’re battling because we’re scared and because we feel unsafe. I feel unsafe. As a woman, I feel unsafe when men can openly say that my body is theirs for the taking, even if it’s a joke, and then get voted into office by millions of people. 

Elections are a lot about trade-offs. It’s rare that any one candidate matches what we believe 100 percent, so we have to make trade-offs: I don’t like her economic reforms, but I value her experience in foreign policy. I don’t like his stance on healthcare, but I agree with his platform on the environment. We give up some things to vote for others.

My issue this election is that I feel like we’ve given up on helping each other so we can help ourselves. Understand, many of us feel excluded now. What I see in this election is a country that doesn’t value me as a person, doesn’t respect me as a woman.  I feel like I’ve been told that respect for me and my body — my very personhood — was a trade-off worth making. And I’m not alone. I’ve spoken with other women who feel the same way, and I’ve read comments and posts and tweets from a variety of people who feel that way, not about their gender necessarily, but about their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, status in the country, or other facet of who they are.

“We’re angry because our candidate’s losing means this country will be less safe, less kind, and less available to a huge segment of its population, and that’s just the truth … We wake up today in a home we no longer recognize.

For many, the harsh words, racial and ethnic slurs, and sexual abuse language were worth overlooking to elect a president who would defend their personal freedoms and turn around an economy they feel has left them out. I see it. But I don’t agree. I don’t think disparaging someone’s personhood is worth anything. I think basic respect for all humanity is not too much to demand of my leaders. In fact, it’s the only thing I demand of them. It’s a deal breaker for me. I demand a leader who is not racist or sexist or bigoted.

I know that I was lucky this election, to both agree with the policies of my candidate and the way she treated people. Though, I made trade-offs too. She wasn’t perfect, but I supported her and had so much hope because of her.

What now?

I’ve seen people posting the best of things today (yes, among some persistent fighting). Like the Christian writers I follow who are calling for lament and prayer, for turning toward each other and God, for using hymns and art and scripture to remind those of us who are afraid that we are not alone. Like the Facebook friends who are asking, practically, to voice our specific concerns of this presidency so that we are prepared to address them as they come. Like the nonprofit organizations that are emailing to say that the work is not done and there are other ways to act and make a difference. Like the people who are standing up for minorities and refugees, women and the LGBT community, people without voice or access, saying, I won’t let you suffer this alone, I will stand by you, and they’ll have to go through me first to get to you. 

In the end, this is all about how we treat each other. I wish I was confident that the incoming leader of our country would treat people — all people — with dignity and respect, but I am not confident. We can do it though. We can treat each other with dignity and respect, in the name of Love, we can act better than what we’ve seen. I am worried about policy issues, to be sure, but I am much more worried about the ways we treat each other.

So many are scared today. I see you. I see you and you are not alone.


4 thoughts on “What Have We Done?: The Election, Part 2

  1. Oh and I’ve seen several posts about how parents are supposed to instruct their children. I’m going to teach my children the way I believe I should, regardless of who is in power. You say please and thank you. You befriend outcasts. You apologize when you hurt. You speak kindness. You give service. You pursue Christ wholeheartedly and out of gratitude for the incredible sacrifice he has done for you, you exercise hospitality, charity, and forgiveness. I want to teach my kids that our hope isn’t in our President, but God alone and he is in charge no matter who is the leader of any given country. I want them to see that regardless of policies and even if I’m threatened with death (i.e. being killed for this view or persecuted for it). I pray the Holy Spirit would help me be that strong.

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  2. You wrote this well. I am worried about the way people treat each other and not just in politics. Sadly, I think relative truth has played into that. We tell people they can believe what they want to, but because we want to feel corporate, not alone, conflict arises when an opinion is different. There isn’t a basis for morality in our increasing secularization. Youth aren’t taught manners and are allowed to be disrespectful and rude (most of the time by the same adults (guardians because they usually have the most influence) who are disrespectful and rude).

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