I did not vote for Trump. And is there anyone out there who truly knows me and is still somehow surprised that I did not vote for him and his brand of hatred and white privilege? I won’t say who I voted for, as keeping my vote private is something I do whenever I find the options limited and opinions on all sides highly volatile. Suffice it to say I did not vote for Trump for many reasons, and all of them have to do with the division, racism, bigotry, and hate-speech he has brought to this campaign, and no-doubt will bring to his presidency. Sorry. I will pray for him and his conversion, but I won’t hold my breath.
I work with Apache and Hispanic children. My own children are part black, part white, and part Cherokee. I’ve worked with migrant workers in Florida. I’ve been friends with and have worked with many undocumented workers, some of whom are trying to gain citizenship through legal channels, while others I know are prevented from applying. I have many friends who identify as LBGT who continue to work for equal rights and simple respect. I also have family members and friends with disabilities. All of these “groups” have been verbally and viciously attacked by Trump’s insensitive and hateful rhetoric.
I understand the concerns of white Americans who struggle to find work and struggle to put food on the table for their families, but so do many American people on the margins. Hunger, poverty, and unemployment affect all Americans, but people of color and people with disabilities are still hit harder than white Americans. It’s a fact.
Our nation has taken some very courageous steps in the last 60-70 years to create a safe place for all. I truly see the election of Donald Trump as a huge step backwards. I also see his election as a serious threat to the very liberties, freedoms, and protections we all claim to hold so dear. Even as I write this Trump is busy filling administrative positions with ultra conservative white men who are known for their racist, sexist, and homophobic views.
In an effort to sort through my own emotions over the future of our nation, and remain true to my faith and my integrity, I’ve been quietly reading and contemplating on the many wise and thoughtful post-election reflections of some of my favorite teachers. Teachers I respect for always shedding light on darkened places, always opening hidden doors to a better way of being, and always bringing the issues back to a Christ-centered, love-centered whole: Fr. Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault, James Finley, Sr. Jamie Phelps, Christena Cleveland, and other wise and mystic voices from the past.
Mostly they all say the same thing. We need to find common ground, and we need to be inclusive, not exclusive. As Rohr says, “Everything belongs.” While this is true, when dealing with political realms there is only dualistic thinking at play. So how do we hold both, yet continue to move forward?
I think those of us who have expressed our fatigue with the “hate-speech,” the “us vs. them” mentality, the negative social media posts, and the news media bias must make a deliberate and conscious effort to eliminate these things from our own speech, attitude, and postings. I also think we have a responsibility to lovingly point it out when we see the fear, anger and hatred being perpetrated by our friends and family. This isn’t easy, but then Jesus never said it would be. He was put to death. The worst that could happen to me (I think) is that I could be “unfriended” or “unfollowed.” That’s what tissues and hugs from real friends are for.
My ex-husband is fond of reminding me that we met while I was out with my college Poli-Sci friends, and we were all engaged in a heated conversation about politics. We always laughed at the irony of my later declaration, “I hate politics!” It’s true; I do! But it is really the game playing and the dualistic nature of politics that I hate. Like it or not, we all have to be engaged in politics if we want to affect change in our world. Now more than ever we must stay on top of what goes on in Washington, and in our state and local governments.
Our planet, our water, our air, our freedoms, and our very lives are at stake. We can no longer afford to just relax and let others do the dirty work for us. We all need to snap out of our “post-election depression” and seek common ground, get involved, stay informed, make our voices heard, hold elected officials accountable, and work hard for justice for all, not just a select few.