Yesterday I wept. I was surprised at the depth of emotions this election brought out of me and my community. We witnessed a free and fair election and our candidate lost. It's neither the first nor the last time that will happen. Still, I never thought it would feel like this. I grieved and I think Aaron Sorkin's letter to his daughter describes why-
It wasn’t just Donald Trump who won last night—it was his supporters too. The Klan won last night. White nationalists. Sexists, racists and buffoons. Angry young white men who think rap music and Cinco de Mayo are a threat to their way of life (or are the reason for their way of life) have been given cause to celebrate. Men who have no right to call themselves that and who think that women who aspire to more than looking hot are shrill, ugly, and otherwise worthy of our scorn rather than our admiration struck a blow for misogynistic shitheads everywhere. Hate was given hope.
Loosing hurts and I spent all day yesterday wrestling with my emotions. I wasn't ready to talk about next steps, understand why people voted for him, or how to work for unity. On a scale of 1 to 10, I was at the emotional level of a 3. I woke up with my stomach in knots and began to write in my journal-
I don't know how I'm feeling. I'm afraid if I feel the full weight of the fact, that I'll crumble. And maybe I will. Maybe the crumbling will be the start of the rebuilding. Oh, that's terrifying. The depths of that pain, the hurt, the betrayal, the fact that we got SO CLOSE to have our first woman president and instead got our worst. But I think that might be my only option. Because otherwise I just hold it in until I explode. No, it must be crumbling and rebuilding. That is the Christian story, after all- death and resurrection.
Today, I'm up to a 6 and I'm ready to start the rebuilding. I'm still on the mend, and there are tasks ahead that will require being above a 6. But I am ready to be the kind of loser I wish Republicans would have been for the last 8 years. I will never use #NotMyPresident, because he will be President. I can respect the office of the presidency, while condemning the evil in his character. I wish I could write him off as pure evil, but that isn't possible. No one is pure evil, not even Donald Trump and his supporters. However, this doesn't mean I am going to accept what he's said and done. As Glennon Doyle Melton said about her daughter,
Telling Tish that America voted into office the man she heard on TV saying the things he said about grabbing women...well, that was a low point in my life. She bawled. She understood what it meant. Then, later- before she went to bed- she looked at me and said: "Mommy, maybe he isn't that bad." And that killed me. Because that's what girls and women do, right? When a man abuses us or minimizes us or harasses us and THE WORLD disbelieves us or takes his side-tells us that he is worth more than we are-we eventually agree. We think: Maybe they're right. Maybe it's all okay. Maybe I'm not worth more than I got. Maybe I should just fall into line. Maybe he's not that bad.
Today I'm angry and so sad. And I am coming here to say: Misogyny and racism and Islamaphobia and mocking the disabled and homophobia --They really are that bad. I'm not going to fall into line: I'm GOING TO HOLD THE LINE. I accept none of it. And I am going to spend my life fighting like hell against hate and fear and division.
This is worse than just my party loosing. It's worse than the most qualified, hardest working woman loosing to the least qualified candidate in history. It's the justification of white nationalism, sexism, and xenophobia. These are evils. White supremacy is evil and don't let you dare believe otherwise. I've heard lots of Christians say, "God is in control" as if to be off the hook for what is happening. This requires a massive revisionist view of history (remember a certain someone named Adolf Hitler when God was "in control"?) but also is just bad theology. And friends don't let friends have bad theology.
I will never forget reading the quote from Hermann Hesse's Demian when I was in high school- "If you hate a person, you hate something in them that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us." It felt like a gut punch, because I knew it was true. And it's still true. I hate my ego, the way I love the benefits of privilege, the nasty fear of things or people I don't know. These ugly truths get compounded into system racism, sexism, violence, and white supremacy. I must repent of them and then, I've got to get to work.
White people? This one is on us. We pretended to have a free pass because we we're college educated and we could blame it on a lack of knowledge, but 45% of college educated white women voted for Donald Trump. The fact that women can accept a man who brags about sexually assaulting one of their own kind should terrify us.
If Hillary had won, we would have thought our job was done at the polls. I had a friend vote early and casually said, "I cast my vote so my job in this election is over" and I thought he was right. But our jobs were never done at the polls. They were just beginning. So now we have a government full of white men who won't fight for the rights of women, minorities, or vulnerable populations. White people, we've got to get to work. There are people who have much more to loose than we do and we've got to put our hands to work, instead of just our mouths.
I'll have a lot more to say later, when I'm ready and when you're ready to read. Goodness knows you don't need one more thing to read, so I'll do my best to get work done instead of just telling others to.
Today, I ask three things of you.
- First, take your time with your feelings. If you are still angry, hurt, betrayed, or dumfounded, that is okay. If other people are ready to move into action and you are not
- Second, start becoming the person you wish your opponents had been. Prove that you are more civil, more respectful, more loving than those who hate you. If it's easy for you to be compassionate to immigrants and refugees, then practice compassion for Trump supporters. This may take time, but pray that you may have true compassion someday.
- Third, there's no them, there is only us. It's overly simplistic, I know. But it's also true. It's my America as much as it for the 59 million people who voted for Donald Trump. Our liberation is all tied up together. Oppression hurts the oppressed and the oppressors.
May we begin to heal and may we get to work. May we find friendship and commonality among those who voted differently than we did. May we remember that all people were created in the image of a God who calls them GOOD. May it be so.