Last Tuesday, Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election with a majority in the Electoral College.
The win was unprecedented and not without controversy.
A lot has been said about the prospect of a Trump administration. I will not add to the predictions and the forecasts of doom and gloom or the views of fair weather ahead. I could . . . but I won’t.
I want to explore what this means to me. I realize that politics has little to do in a “News & Inspiration” fueled website, but we cannot escape the fact that what happens in Washington has deep consequences for our daily lives.
Right now, all we can do is guess at what may happen. There are 10 weeks left of our current president, and even upon taking power there will be campaign promises broken almost immediately. That’s just the way it goes.
What strikes me as most important now is to keep our love as close as possible. The overlong, acidic campaign has left us bruised, scarred, and paranoid of what “the other side” might do to us.
We cannot—we must not—live in fear of one another.
The moment we decide that “they” have it out against “us” is the moment we lose sight of what humans are capable of doing.
Next time you gather with your fellow church members, there will be around you people who voted Clinton, people who voted Trump, people who voted third-party, and those who abstained.
I plead you to look them in the eye and tell them how proud you are of having them form a part of your community.
In the coming weeks, we must learn to listen. We must learn to listen.
We must work toward reconciliation. There are very hurt people among us, on both sides, that need our attention and love.
We must not take for granted our neighbor that works with their hands, in the fields or in the factories. Pollsters underestimated the turnout of the working class voter without a college degree.
If we are truly a society that values one another, we cannot underestimate anyone. Everyone has a place at this table, and simply because “white, blue-collar” is the norm it doesn’t mean it must be ordinary.
Every one of your neighbors in this demographic has a beautiful story, and we cannot make the mistake of forgetting who they are and where they come from.
We must not marginalize women. Forming over half of the population, they are endowed with the necessary abilities to perform any job and hold a voice in our society and our churches.
As I’ve said before, including women in our future only makes things better: four hands at any job are better than two.
We must not look down on anyone simply because their skin cells have more melanoma than our own.
Skin color is only skin deep. For far too long, a system that has ignored and forgotten the hard workers and women has been staunchly and blatantly fighting against people of color. We hold this fact to be obvious: all people are created equal.
We must not turn away the immigrant and the refugee.
Maybe you haven’t read the 92 references to the stranger in the Old Testament, and that’s okay. Still, I’d like to think I am a part of a global community whose sole purpose is to extend hope and relief to anyone who needs it.
I must include here as part of the global sense of my community.
We must not disregard the world in which we live in.
Our environmental decisions affect much more than our neighborhood now. If we truly care about our neighbors around the world in places where sea level rise or drought (you don’t even have to leave this country to see this!) are affecting livelihoods, let’s act on being better stewards of the home we’re in.
Too often, we hold hateful views against one another, and rancor and mistrust. We meet each other at work, in churches and other gatherings and present a false face.
I, too, am guilty of singing hymns or social justice anthems and quoting peaceful scripture and lofty thoughts of peace heroes around the world, and at the same time not extending forgiveness or even empathy to someone I may not understand.
To end, I want to quote from the Quran and the Bible. I hope these verses resonate with you regardless of whether you believe in it as inspired word or simply as beautiful literature.
From verse 135 of the Surah Al Nisa (The Women):
“O ye who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well- acquainted with all that ye do.”
From The Message version of Matthew 25:35-36:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.”
What is important for me to hold on to after a divisive season is that, in the community I have chosen to surround myself with, our differences make up our strengths, and every individual is just as important as the last.
Let’s hold on to love.