I hate to post something that’s mood-dampening, but I have felt many emotions since Tuesday night: shock, concern, and more – and I think it’s important to write them out. At the same time, I know I am very fortunate: the results of this election don’t affect me that much; my life can easily move on.
Many of the students I teach are recent immigrants, and they do not have the same privilege I do. I cried the day following the election, thinking of these children and their families, the life they want to lead, the work they put in, and the possibility that they might not be here a year from now. I couldn’t move on.
Immediately following the election results, I was mad. I was angry that the United States could have allowed this to happen: a billionaire businessman with no political experience, considered as a joke 18 months ago, against so many things the country holds dear, is now the president-elect. There are a lot of reasons and articles explaining why this happened, but I still had a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that this is happening for real. Sure, there was the slight chance that something might happen between now and inauguration day, but anybody who said Trump “wasn’t that bad” was in my line of fire. I was off Facebook on Wednesday, I think it was for the best.
After a little while, I began to think a little more. There just might be hope out there. Listening to Hillary Clinton’s speech gave me a case of the sniffles (Okay, there were tears.) All is not lost… right? Then I began to think about God. Where was He in all of this? I certainly don’t see Him in Trump, even if people have told me otherwise.
To those who did vote for Trump: I don’t think your votes intended to represent a bigoted, misogynist, ableist, anti-immigrant person. I presented an argument against Trump to you, and you defended him with things like:
Mocking people with disabilities isn’t okay, but…
Calling Mexicans rapists and criminals was out of line, but…
What he said about sexually assaulting women isn’t right, but…
“Whatever your reasons, a vote for Trump required a rationalization. In order to vote for Trump, something mattered more to you than his mistreatment or discrimination of certain groups.” (Shannon Dingle) You admit that Trump has said and done some things… but. You rationalize, defend, and as a result, support and voted for what that man represents. Remember: A half-hearted vote counts the same as the vote from his number one fan.
But you know what? I’m not here to rant, be angry, or insult. I’ve realized that I can’t wallow in my frustrations, because that is going to get me nowhere. I have to make a choice: love or hate. So, I decided that it’s the Jesus in me that will love the Jesus in you. I’m going to pray for him. I really, really, REALLY hope and will be praying for our country to come together. Trump begins his presidency in January (the truth, no matter how painful it is to type), even if we don’t agree with anything he stands for. The Bible says to pray for your leaders, so even if I don’t want him sitting in the White House, I need to pray for him. Even if I don’t see God in Trump, I will pray for God to move through him.
Some have suggested “You just need to move on.” When you move on, you forget and concede that “it’s okay, forget it”. I certainly have the privilege to do so, but I couldn’t do it on Wednesday – and I won’t anytime soon. However, with God’s help, I will be moving forward. Pain and sorrow like this doesn’t go away; it makes me who I am. And with everything I am, I put one foot in front of the other on the same dusty path, remembering His enduring faithfulness every step of the way.
Side note: I found some C.S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters fan fiction: letters from an older tempter/demon mentoring a younger one. This quote still hits the nail on the head, and I think it relevant for a time like this.