“Comfort, comfort My people,” says your God.
“With gentle words, tender and kind” … (Isaiah 40:1-2a)
**If you voted for Donald Trump, for whatever reason, you may not want to read this post. If you choose to read it, please remember it’s not aimed at you. Notice I intentionally use the word ‘we’ throughout the post.**
Our election, like the painfully long election season that preceded it, has shown how deep the divide is in America. While our president-elect won the electoral vote, he did not win the popular vote. Protests have arisen. Some have become ugly with violence. I don’t condone the violence. I do support the right to protest and appreciate that we live in a country where we can express our discontent.
I’ve heard people who voted on all sides of the aisle call us to unity and peace. I’ve heard many voices say things like, ‘Give him a chance.’
Wow, that felt incredibly freeing to write. Incredibly empowering. Incredibly cleansing. Like seeing sunshine after a long, dark winter. Like walking away from an abusive relationship. Like shedding dead skin.
I don’t dispute the election results or our future president’s legitimacy. I dispute that I have to give him a chance. I’ve given him a chance. For 18 months of the campaigning. For more than 30 years in the public eye. He’s had every opportunity to prove he’s a changed man, or take advantage of a second, third, fourth, ad nauseam chance. We don’t have to give him another one.
He has to prove himself to us.
And we don’t have to make it easy for him.
We don’t have to make nice at the first bone his administration throws to placate his opponents. The bone he’ll throw first will not be a meaty bone that has lots of marrow. He’s already said that he wants all three of his kids to head up areas of his transition team, and he’s earmarked Ken Blackwell of a designated ‘hate group’ by the Southern Poverty Law Center to head up domestic issues in the transition team. He has never given an acceptable or sincere apology for the abusive remarks and actions that flooded his campaign. He’s never condemned the deplorable actions of some of his supporters in a timely manner.
And that’s why I will not give him a chance. I would not ask abuse victims to make nice with their attackers–especially not 2 days after the rape of their bodies or their minds. I would give them empathy, space to feel the full range of grief–including anger in all it’s glory–and I would give them power by saying they never have to see that person again.
Our president-elect may be all over the news for the next 4 years. But I don’t have to watch. I don’t have to tune into the Inauguration. I don’t have to watch any State of the Union Addresses. I don’t have to encourage anyone to show him grace. I respect the office of President. I do not have to respect the person.
Some may cry, ‘Foul!’ or ‘Sour grapes!’ on me. I’ve never disputed the results of any election, including this one. I’ve had candidates lose before, and I haven’t felt this way. I’m disappointed another candidate (seriously, any other candidate!) didn’t win; but that’s not what underlies my decision.
We elected a bigoted, xenophobic, homophobic, misogynist, and said his character was less important than a Supreme Court nomination. We elected policies over human dignity. One friend told me that he thought America ‘gave the finger’ to D.C. politicians.
No. We ‘gave the finger’ to every minority/marginalized/oppressed group in this country.
Did I agree with all of the policies of the other candidates? No. Do I agree with some of the Republican policies? Yes.
It’s not about policy. It’s about people. And we just gave the utmost power in our nation to a man that has incited fear to the point of death in many groups of people. In many of our own families. In many of our neighbors. In many of our friends. In many.
In my own circles, I’m aware of 14 suicides and counting. I’m aware of numerous, ungodly slurs hurled at people by ‘christians,’ because these abusers feel legitimized by a president-elect who’s ‘one of them.’
And I hear nothing coming from his camp telling them otherwise.
Instead, he took to Twitter (when will his handlers take that privilege away from him) crying, ‘Unfair!’ when people protested. The next day, another more diplomatic tweet showed up. Perhaps, one of his camp took his phone away. Any editor worth their salt could tell you they weren’t his words.
It’s too late for him to apologize. Or for the far-right evangelical leaders who endorsed him to apologize, dismissing his comments and actions because policy and platform trumped people’s rights and dignity. Apologies aren’t enough. We need actions. We deserve actions. Many, many actions.
Looking at his agenda for his first 100 days doesn’t encourage me that those actions will do much, except create an America where white-straight-males rule, and ‘liberty and justice for all‘ rings hollow. The ones already feeling like their nation doesn’t want them, now have a bully in office who has begun to prove their feelings are not unfounded.
So where’s the comfort from God?
All I can offer is my solidarity.
If you feel fear, anxiety, sadness, weariness, anger, numbness, or whatever spectrum on the grief scale, I stand with you.
And so do more than half the people who voted.
So, reach out to a non-white/non-straight/non-majority ‘other’ today. Ask how they’re doing. Invite them over. Make a coffee/snack date with them–even if it’s Skype or FaceTime. Just reach out. Let someone know you’ve got their back.
None of us have to be alone. We have a God that welcomes all who come–regardless of what other voices may say. And we have a tribe with open arms to receive you. And when it feels so dark, a community will shelter you. And that’s the comfort. That’s the hope. In community, we can feel safe. In community, we can find unity of humanity. In community, it doesn’t have to matter who is president. Because in community, love trumps fear.
**sigh** It’s going to be a long 4 years, isn’t it?
I welcome comments! Please keep them respectful and constructive.