The Morning After
I have deep empathy for those who are deeply afraid of what a Trump win says about our country, and of what it will mean in policies that will hurt many. I do not post this to disrespect your emotions of fear and grief. Nor do I post this to disrespect the elation and relief that Trump supporters are feeling. I voted for Hillary whole-heartedly (an easy and obvious choice in my mind and heart and spirit), but I had and have grappled with the larger dynamics that grip our nation and world: We (on both sides) have allowed ourselves to value "winning" over valuing the people who hold the beliefs that we fear and reject.
My emotional world today is largely unchanged from my world yesterday. I woke the boys up yesterday morning and then joked in the kitchen "it's the end of the world as we know it" but then went on to have the conversation with them that said that one side or the other "winning" did not change the fact that we all still wake up together in the same country the next day.
I love deeply people on both "sides". I hold in common with many of them memories, deeply-held-and-lived values, and hopes for the future. I intended yesterday -- and intend today -- to remind us all, every day, that we are in this together, and that "winning" or "losing", now or in the future, cannot be the goal.
“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."
No "cowboys and Indians" games for anyone in 2016, please? We share a planet. We need to stop being willing to ride over the other side on our way to "greatness", and realize that we are all real people and that "the kingdom of God" is right here, right now. (Karen Kettleson, (Mom), this is what I was trying to say about history: we know from history that good people justify atrocities because they allow themselves to view "the other side" as less than human and necessary casualties in their quest for righteousness. (That is a lesson for ME, and not just you: "the other side" is beloved by God too, and I am not permitted to sacrifice them on an altar to God. God provides/provided another way.))
None of that is to say that there are not big issues at stake. There were and are. It is to say that we can work through them together if we can learn to love the people who believe things that we think are dispicable. All of us.
I don't need to concede what I believe to be true. In fact, I can't -- because I was raised by people who taught me that God's truth matters more than my own life. But they also taught me that courtesy and kindness and personhood can be extended to those I believe to be wrong. And so we have all been learning to practice that: showing kindness and respect to the other, even though we believe the other to be wrong and cannot understand how they can't see their error.
So today, for me, is like yesterday:
1) I question everything
2) I tell my story and affirm what I believe to be right and true
3) I work on my habits and in my choices to not be a hypocrite
4) I honor your commitment and your right to do the same
Last night was not the end of the story; but may the next chapter NOT be the story of how my side eventually "wins". May the next chapter be the story of a changed culture and a changed polity, where we stop setting aside daily life to "win", and start respecting our need to build a single diverse community through daily kindnesses to the "other side".