We are better than this

Friends, I’m writing tonight because we need to heal the wounds this contentious election season has wrought upon our bleeding hearts. It was inevitable that with a country this divided, half of us would feel despair. For the third presidential election in a row, I voted for the losing side. Does this make me a loser?  Yet my experience this time around is more akin to grief than it is to disappointment. On election night, I cried so hard that my teeth hurt from all the sinus pressure.

I’m asking you — yes, you, as most of my readers are conservatives — to give people like me time to grieve without minimizing the genuine pain and fear we feel. Our fear is at least partly justified — the campaign rhetoric that President-elect Trump used was so divisive (Mexicans are rapists, Look at that face, etc — I don’t want to get into all that) and received so much media attention that little children are afraid. Big kids like me are afraid, too. I have spoken out on this platform about him. During the campaign and throughout his life, he has threatened to sue newspapers and reporters who print negative things about him. With the power and might of the presidency, will he lump me into that category? Hopefully I’m not worth his attention.

So there is fear. But mostly there is the searing pain of separation. Most of my extended family supported Trump and are justifiably gleeful about their victory. So I can’t share my hurts with them. I can’t share the lost hopes and dreams I had not just of a woman breaking that glass ceiling but also the end of policies I really believed would be good for America. I am afraid my dear friend who came to this country as a teenager over twenty years ago will now be rounded up and sent back to a place where she suffered rape and violence and poverty the likes of which most of us have never seen.

In my family I feel like the red-headed stepchild. Of course I was raised to have my own opinions, but there’s a part of me that wants to please the people I love. This desire to please is at war with my pain. So I stay mum during family conversations. I’m outside the fold and no matter what I do, in their eyes I will always be an (unspoken) “libtard” who voted for a woman who supports partial-birth abortion and they cannot understand why I am so upset. Nothing I can say will change that. I stay mum when my friends post FaceBook comments about “libtards” and “cucks” and “elitists.” And no matter what they do, I cannot understand why they voted the way they did. So there’s this great divide between us. I hate the way that feels.

I could write a hundred pages of text about the lies President-elect Trump has said. I could write until my fingers fall off detailing the insults he has thrown at people. But what would be the point? If we as a society do not stand up to meanness and incivility, Trump’s election will usher in an age of people insulting people they don’t agree with.

I am not overreacting. It happened to me, yesterday. One of the people I interacted with  wore one of these buttons:

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I was as professional with him as I am with others, but I’m saying here in this space that IT HURT.  Why would he rub it in? Why would he be mean to over 50% of the population that voted for Clinton? When our interaction ended, he asked me if I had voted. I told him yes, but I didn’t tell him who I voted for. I didn’t want to get shamed. It wasn’t my place to say something to him about his decision to wear that button. But I hope that someone else, someone he trusts, will point out to him that actions like that don’t heal the great divide that separates us. They only fan the flames. 

As do these actions that also happened yesterday and today, around the country, as some people seem to think this election gives them permission to be bullies:

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or this one from a middle school teacher:

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And then there’s this heartbreaking story from Baylor University — a Christian university, I might add:

And at this elementary school in Utah — kindergarten, no less:

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However, the violence and meanness is on both sides (LANGUAGE AND VIOLENCE WARNING). The anti-Trump people who did this need to get arrested for assault:

Everybody who is doing mean things needs to stop. Now. The election is over, and it is time to get back to the business of life. We are better than this, people. We need to hold each other accountable.

Part of that starts with trying to walk in someone else’s shoes.

On election night/early morning, I was in the throes of a grief so deep I could not sleep.

So here, in this space, I invite you inside the deepest part of my soul. I wrote this stream-of-consciousness not intending to publish it. But I think perhaps others out there who are hurting need to know that they are valuable. That they are not trash. That their ideals are not wrong ideals and that it is ok to grieve. Those of my friends and family who are walking on cloud nine with their victory are also invited in. Consider the pain your neighbors and family members may be feeling, and then treat them with mercy and respect. The reality of your victory does not in any way diminish their feelings of defeat. And although we are truly grateful for peaceful transitions of power, there has not been an election or a selection of candidates like this one before. I pray there never will be again.

Here are my words, written at 3am November 9th:

I feel voiceless, like my voice didn’t matter. It didn’t matter when Obama was elected. It didn’t matter when he was elected the second time, and it doesn’t matter tonight. Nothing I wrote has ever made any difference to anybody. All it did was serve to build an idol up in my own mind. 

I don’t even believe in the church anymore. The church has let America down. We have sold our soul to the one who promises greatness, as if greatness is something a man can even do.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe he won’t be a terrible force. Maybe I am a stuck-up educated elitist.

What I can say is I am for now on, a voiceless one. Tomorrow (or I guess today) I am taking down my blog and my Facebook. I may or may not keep my twitter. I might get rid of it and open a new one. Then I will blog under a different name. I cannot be everfaith. That person that I was doesn’t exist anymore. What was my faith in?

I still have my faith in Jesus. This world is upside down. We have a country that voted for more death penalty. We have a country that voted for a man who has said and done things that are the antithesis of Jesus, and what is worse is the evangelicals voted for him in droves. The same ones who could not vote for Gary Hart because of his adultery or for Mitt Romney because of his Mormonism (at one time I felt that way too) voted for him. This is why I am no longer an evangelical.

I have cried so much. The grief is so deep — deeper than I thought possible over a presidential election. Never have I felt so despondent about my country.

Mostly I’m sad about this huge divide. The hurt. The pain. And the party in power now…will they try to heal the rift? Work across the lines?

I am afraid of what is to come. I fear a rise of a dictator. People said that about Obama but I never believed it. Now I am afraid. I don’t want there to be a record of me. Anywhere.  I am weary of social media. Tired of broadcasting my thoughts out. It didn’t change a thing, anyway. So why bother anymore? I have close people in my life who absolutely hate black people. They hate immigrants. Hate so fills their minds that they are blinded and I don’t know what I can do about it.

But maybe I’m the one who is blinded by my hatred for the man whose name I can’t bring myself to write?

Lord I feel like I am lost. Adrift. Cut off from everyone. I can’t talk about this with anyone. I don’t want to see any silver linings.

So I will do all the good I can, to all the people I can, as long as ever I can. No matter what.

After my hysterectomy I didn’t want to go online. I feel that way again. Must be a trauma thing. I am traumatized by this election. Like, I need therapy kind of traumatized. All the hatred spewed. The death threats. The lack of civility.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

And with that, I went to bed. The sun came up. The world kept turning. And although I did not take down my social media accounts, I did begin a media fast. I have not turned on the television or read the newspaper since the election. I took FaceBook off my phone. I looked at twitter once today, and that was enough to tell me I am not ready for it yet.

If you are grieving, take some time to heal. Do things that make you feel at peace. Today I took the dogs for a walk along the river. I threw myself into work, which was a great distraction. Now I’m on the hunt for a great book series (have any suggestions?)

Here: look at this picture of my baby doggie and see if your heart doesn’t melt:

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And what about this sweet baby’s smile?

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Now watch what happens when a woman wearing a Hillary t-shirt takes a “lost” dog to a Trump rally and vice versa:

We really are better when we stand together and stop viewing each other as the enemy.

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