The Mourning After

I don’t really know what to say right now.

I usually don’t write this kind of stuff. I like to write about Marvel movies, and TV pilots, and Big Brother. People come to me for entertainment news and Twitter memes, and I am very good at those two things. I am not good at political discourse. I am not good at being emotionally honest online. But here we are.

Donald Trump is the President Elect of the United States of America. Even now, I can’t believe I’m typing that. It feels like a dream. I had prepared myself for this early on, but the sheer confidence of the Democrats in the last couple months assuaged any fears I might have had. I watched Hillary Clinton win 3 debates while Trump dug himself into a deeper hole. I believe that at one point, I actually made a Facebook post along the lines of “I’m so glad Donald Trump will never be President.” I woke up this morning curious as to whether or not Trump would ultimately concede. I never saw it coming. The Democrats never saw it coming. The media never saw it coming. I’m almost convinced that even Trump himself didn’t see it coming. We were all so wrong. I’ve never seen such a large group of people be so wrong about anything this significant in my entire life.

It dawned on me tonight that Donald Trump was always going to win this election. Despite what all of the polls said, despite what everyone anticipated, this election had been decided months ago. There is nothing the Clinton campaign could have done. The white, American public was done with politicians, and they were never going to elect one. If only the Democrats had anticipated that years ago. Alas, what’s done is done. Trump is the President now, and no amount of looking back and wondering what went wrong is going to change that. It’s time to look forward, but what do we look forward to?

I grew up in a very conservative, evangelical home. I have blindly voted for the Conservative Party in almost all Canadian elections in which I was eligible to do so (full disclosure – I did not vote in 2015 as I did not get my absentee ballot submitted in time, although I don’t know who I would have voted for even if I had). I’m not a great citizen. I am woefully uninformed and uninvolved. I’m not a great person. I was unaware of my privilege and my own prejudice and intolerance for most of my life. I’m not a great Christian either. I regularly question my faith – arguably too much – but nothing has made me question my faith more than seeing the amount of bigotry and hatred spewed by those who claim to be followers of Christ. I’m pretty sure it’s always been there, I was just blind to it, convinced that what I believed was right – it had to be right. I was taught that the Bible was black and white and that there was no wiggle room. I’ve come to question that belief. I’ve come to question a lot of beliefs. Truthfully, I couldn’t tell you what I believe anymore, but the one Christian principle I’ve clung to is this: “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Does anything else really matter? Jesus said “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” The Bible tells us that “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you–who are you to judge your neighbor?” Why then is there so much judgement and hate, particularly among Christians, who are called to love their neighbors? “Love your enemies”! Repeatedly, all throughout scripture, we are told again and again that we are not here to judge, that we are here to love, and yet – AND YET – 80% of white Evangelicals voted for someone who ran a platform built on hate, fear, and judgement. How can you reconcile that? What does that say about us?

I’ve already established that I’m not a great person, but I honestly want to offer up an apology to anyone of another gender, orientation, or ethnicity who I have hurt, either directly or indirectly (ignorance can hurt just as much as hate). I’m sorry that it took me so long to realize that I need to be a better man, one who stands up for the marginalized in my life. I’m sorry if I haven’t been there for you when you needed someone. I’m sorry if I never believed or understood your struggles because they are so different from mine. I’m sorry if I ever discounted your opinion or made you feel unsafe or unwanted in any way. This may not mean much, but I’m trying to be better.

Tonight, my heart goes out to everybody in America who will be affected negatively by a Trump presidency.

I think of the women; the survivors of sexual abuse who see their abusers walk free and the overqualified who are overlooked because of their sex.

I think of the LGBTQ community, who want to be seen and recognized, and who want to love one another while enjoying the same rights and privileges as everyone else.

I think of the religious minorities; the Muslims and the Jewish people who fear deportation, discrimination, and violence.

I think of the African American communities who are afraid of their nation’s police forces, who now must live under a president endorsed by the KKK

I think of the Latin American community, who are perceived as criminals and rapists and told to go home to a country they aren’t even from.

I think of the immigrants and the refugees who just want a safe place to call home and not be branded terrorists.

I think of all the marginalized; the tired, the poor, the huddled masses.

I think of all these and more and I am afraid of what might happen to them in a country that doesn’t seem to want them. I think of the great divide that exists in America today and I honestly do not see a path to reconciliation. Maybe that’s a failing on my part. Maybe I give up too easily. I certainly give up too easily. That’s a personal weakness of mine. I’m negative. I’m pessimistic. I’m depressed. Hope feels like an evanescent dream, always fluttering just out of reach.

I see my largely Democratic Twitter feed in mourning tonight, as people of all races and religions fear for what tomorrow will bring, but alongside the mourners, I see those who continue to hope. Yes, they mourn, but they are stronger than their grief. I see their calls to stand strong, to support and uplift one another, to remember that people are stronger together than they are apart. I envy them their strength. I envy them their resolve. I envy their desire to do better, to see good done in the world, and to enact positive change in their country. I envy them because right now, I’m not there. I am tired. I am scared. I am angry. I see their grace and their strength and I envy it, because it’s grace and strength that I lack. Grace and strength that I, an evangelical white male, lack. I’m negative. I’m pessimistic. I’m depressed. Hope feels like an evanescent dream, always fluttering just out of reach, but if the broken-hearted, weary minorities of America can find hope, then maybe there’s hope for me as well.

Keep struggling. Keep fighting. Keep loving one another. Don’t lose hope, even when everyone else has. You’re the strength that America needs right now. You’re the strength that we all need right now. God bless you. And God bless America.

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