As soon as the election results began to pour in as I watched the Daily Show’s live coverage, I got antsy. I felt my anxiety building. Tom asked what was wrong. “I’m scared,” I replied, watching in horror. I comforted myself with a reminder that I got nervous in the post season when the Cubs were up by a few runs during the other team’s final at-bat. I know that I naturally don’t react to things properly.
And it kept getting worse and harder to deal with. I wished I had the bottle of Pepto Bismol the co-host on the Daily Show had been sipping through a straw. My stomach hurt. My face burned. I kept shaking my head. I checked the result maps obsessively and listened to broadcasters prattle on about why this was happening.
By the time I went to bed at John Podesta’s request, I was crying. I felt heartbroken. I felt defeated. I felt so deeply saddened to recognize that the face of our country is going to be someone so many of us (the majority, it turns out) cannot respect – based on his words, his testimonies of his actions, and his actions. I felt like I didn’t want to keep going in this world. I felt betrayed by my fellow Americans.
But yesterday, I took refuge in like-minded individuals on Facebook. I talked to friends who feel how I do. Tom and I had really difficult discussions. I prayed a lot. I watched comedians who comfort me (Stephen Colbert, James Corden, Ellen Degeneres, and more). I read the encouraging words of J.K. Rowling and Lin Manuel Miranda. I sobbed at the gracious and heartfelt delivery of Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton’s concession speech. I found comfort in President Barack Hussein Obama’s address.
… but I couldn’t just be okay with it.
Most of the things that president elect Trump has expressed a desire to repeal, eliminate, or enact won’t affect me. I’m a white natural born American citizen married to a white natural born American citizen. We’re both college-educated and Tom’s job includes a great health insurance package. We have plenty. We’re married to a person of the opposite sex.
There are, however, tens of millions of people living on American soil who could be stripped of their rights. I was uninsured for three years, during which time I severely injured my knee and couldn’t afford to do anything about it. Then, when my college insured me, I spent two years sort of half hoping I’d hurt i again so I could have it fixed and not be denied help due to its being “pre-existing.” I know what it is to depend on county health offices and how much more clean, accepting, and helpful Planned Parenthood is. If some of the tenants of the ACHA are repealed, I could be denied future health insurance because of a pre-existing condition over which I have no control. I have friends who could be taken out of this country. I have friends whose marriages could be nullified.
I have overwhelming empathy for my neighbors, so much so that I usually shut myself off from the world because I get so wrapped up in what others are feeling. I’m guarded. I worry.
HRC, a woman, a mother, a wife, a Senator, a Secretary of State, won the popular vote. We’ve made strides toward the legalization of marijuana across the land. Arizonans kicked a racist sheriff out of office. Women from other countries and of color have been elected to serve in our legislature.
This is heartening. I feel better knowing the good that has come from this election, but there are so many stories surfacing of people of color being heckled by white guys with confederate flags, of children being told by fellow students that they’ll be sent “back to where you came from,” of hijabis being attacked, of women being mocked by their male counterparts, of lesbian, gay, bi, transgender, and queer youth committing suicide, and of hate being granted legitimacy in the wake of this election.
I’ve listened to Republicans talk about their reasons for voting Trump. I’ve listened to fellow millennials bitch about the establishment. I’ve listened to third party candidates make the case that their option is the only conscientious one. I’ve listened to Christians thanking God for sending this slimeball of a man to “make America great again.”
Now listen to me for a second and do your best to see where I(feminist, Christian, wife, housewife, cynical, democrat, pet-mom, daughter, granddaughter, college-graduate, cousin, niece, daughter-in-law, woman, millennial)’m coming from.
We’re legitimately scared that our rights will be taken from us and those we love and support. We have a right to grieve the loss of what would have been a historic election. We aren’t bitching for the sake of bitching; we’re making our voices heard because we care and we believe in a better and more loving America.
If you’re someone who voted for Trump along party lines or because you’re so against social issues or because you equate the Republican party with fundamental Christianity, please, for the love of God (and country), remember Jesus’s teachings.
Remember to love your neighbors as yourselves. Remember that people of all sexual orientations are your neighbors. Remember that people of all colors are your neighbors. Remember that followers of all religions and spiritualities are your neighbors. Remember that people of all political parties are your neighbors. Remember that people of all nations are your neighbors. Remember that people often feel like they have no way out.
Remember that Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners. Remember that we’re all sinners. Remember that the first will be last and the last will be first. Remember that Jesus welcomed all to his banquet. Remember that He stepped in to help those in need – even when He had nothing. Remember that He lived a simple life. Remember that He didn’t do anything for His own benefit.
So, go ahead, cling to your faith – I sure am – but maybe reexamine what that faith should look like.
I think Christianity looks a lot more like working at soup kitchens, like sticking up for the Muslim woman being harassed in the grocery store, like teaching your kids to not use the word “gay” as an insult or “retard” at all, like listening to marginalized groups and rallying behind them, like welcoming refugees with open arms, like treating everyone with dignity, like educating our youth about sexual responsibility, like helping a woman to make an intensely difficult decision and then supporting it no matter what, like teaching our sons that no means no, like letting other people live freely so long as no one gets hurt, like not tolerating demeaning talk, like not praising hateful behavior.
Because Jesus’s life wasn’t about Himself – it’s about my neighbor.
And to those who also had their dreams crushed: take heart! I am on your side and so are many more. Rise above the chaff of hatred and shine your lights of hope and change and a better tomorrow. ❤
It’s weird that I’m sitting here writing and hoping that my future president has been putting on some sort of weird character during this whole process, pandering to a select group, that I’m praying he’ll start miraculously listening to advisors, that I’m hoping to God that nothing happens to him because Mike Pence is second in line now, that I’m feeling so much empathy for President Obama and Secretary Clinton, but I’m glad to know how many people think similarly to me and I’m nervous (but excited) to start working to make this all okay.