“Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom shall be as noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.”
– Isaiah 58:9-12 (ESV) [NOTE: I wanted to use the whole chapter. Go read it 🙂 ]
I ended my last post asking us to accept what happened Tuesday and move on. Since then, there have been a ton of responses to what happened. I got so emotional reading them, I had to take a break from social media.
The responses seem to fall into two categories (I’m generalizing for simplicity’s sake, not to put anyone in a box. Also understand I’m not singling out any particular friend; I’ve seen them all over the place, from all ages, ethnicities and faiths). They are either a) anti-Trump posts saying anyone who voted for him is a racist bigot and to unfriend them, or b) pro-Trump posts saying God and the people have spoken, so grow up and move on.
When I said to accept what happened and move on, I wasn’t saying it wasn’t OK to be upset, disappointed, even angry. It most certainly is. I just wanted us to recognize the similarities we all share, in the hope that we wouldn’t lash out at one another. But of course that was idealistic.
To my friends who supported Trump, may I ask something of you? Pretend you’re an immigrant. You’ve heard Trump say he’ll build a wall and begin mass deportations. Pretend you’re an LGBTQ individual or someone wrestling with your sexuality. You’ve heard Trump say he supports a law you believe is highly discriminatory. Pretend you have a disability. You’ve heard Trump mock people like you. (IMPORTANT NOTE: The story about his mocking the disabled reporter isn’t true. The clips were spliced together to imply that, but it isn’t true. It’s worth looking up again. Regardless, people saw it and it affected their opinion of him. It can be hard to get those kind of images out of your head).
Let me be clear. I am NOT saying you have to agree with their beliefs. I’m only asking you to consider things from their point of view. This is not the temper tantrum of a spoiled millennial who didn’t get their way. It is genuine, deep-down-to-the-core fear, sometimes for their very lives.
I heard a story yesterday of an immigrant (a legal one) who is afraid to go to work, out of fear he’ll come home to find his mother gone. I’ve heard people express fear that Social Security and/or Medicaid (which many with disabilities rely on) will be done away with. And I’ve heard a lot of LGBTQ individuals afraid of a lot of things. Are these fears irrational? Probably. But are they completely unfounded? No.
So, the next time you hear someone complain, resist the urge to tell them to move on. Instead, try to see things from their perspective. Ask what they’re afraid of. If you don’t understand, question. Tell them you love them. Don’t say all Trump supporters aren’t racists and bigots. Show them.
To my friends who supported Hilary: I love you. I’m sorry you’re hurting and afraid. I wish I could tell you it will all be OK. But since I can’t, I’ll do what I can to make sure it is. And I’ll try to do a better job listening too.
In the meantime, can you consider the idea that your friends who supported Trump weren’t doing so to vote against you? They didn’t picture your face in their head and make a conscious choice to vote Trump because they want your rights taken away. They might have done so unhappily, with a sinking feeling in their heart, disgusted at the thought of either person winning. They might have voted on the one issue that’s more important to them than anything else. They might not understand how deeply his policies could affect you.
To my friends on all sides: I understand you’re upset, disappointed, even angry. Feel it. You won’t be able to move on ’til you do. But, please, watch your words. Stop the pointing of the finger. Answering hate with more hate doesn’t solve anything. Instead, support each other how you can. Civilly debate where you disagree. Make each other think. Be the repairer of the breach. May it begin with me.
(Thank you to the friends who expressed some of what I wrote and helped me see a different perspective. You may not even know who are, but this post was inspired by you! Also thanks to CCDA for the Call of Lament yesterday.)