Thursday, November 10, 2016

Election 2016 with a bit more thought

I am finding that it is not an easy task to sort through my multiple reactions to the election this past Tuesday and say something rational. As of today, all I can do is direct back to something I wrote on October 27th, that what we all need is a commitment to the values of humility and respect.

That's what I am praying for myself, for all citizens of our country, and for our next President.  Secretary Clinton was right to say that he will be our President and he deserves for all of us to give him a chance. What I will be looking for is just what I said, humility and respect.

I do pledge one more thing, and it is naturally on my mind these days as we Christians (and least some of us) prepare for the season of Advent.  I pledge to watch. I live in hope, but I watch for things that weaken hope in myself and in all my fellow citizens. The president-elect has a thin skin and often too easily strikes back at those who question him, and his biggest temptation is to bully. I pray so very hard that these are not signs of how he will govern. I am willing to give him a chance. But I will watch.

I also have to say one more thing, and that it is about "unity." I received many messages (facebook, mostly) about the result of the election meaning we are united as a people.  Nothing could be farther from the truth. We are decidedly not united. The president-elect road a groundswell to an upset victory, but it was a thin victory, with the majority of people not voting for him. This has happened before in our Electoral College system, and we have survived. But the election past laid bare a deeper divide than perhaps many of us thought possible, and no one can deny that Mr. Trump ran with that divide, causing it to widen and deepen.

The most urgent need of our day is conversation.  American unity, like American democracy, is a long-time experiment.  The ability to ask questions and converse, even argue, amongst ourselves is the greatest skill needed for this ongoing experiment, and we cannot substitute social media (including the one I am currently using!) or television pundits arguing with each other for the real thing, which is face to face sharing of life with those who differ from else. We should neither be afraid of that or make any attempt to suppress it.  Difference enlivens democracy. Some false unity imposed on us does not.

American democracy has never been built on the premise that the majority simply gets to impose its will on the minority. I understand that many of Mr. Trump's supporters felt like this has happened to them. I completely accept and respect that feeling, for I know of it myself. However, the answer can never be to "get ourselves in charge so we can do the trampling."

Let us commit ourselves to the hard work, expressed so well in the Christian Scriptures:  let us love one another for love is of God. It is only this hard work of love that will keep America great.

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