People I care about are weeping today. They placed every ounce of hope they had on an imperfect political function and turned their fear and anxiety and anger onto those who disagreed with them. I feel that same fear, not for myself but for the men and women who are desperate for a ray of hope to shine on their lives and instead they are seeing blackness. My heart bleeds for every one of those individuals. Whether or not they will be persecuted more often for their sexuality or their race or their beliefs is nowhere near as obvious as their fear of the possibility.
People I care about are celebrating today. Their votes were cast without a flinch or a doubt, even if they post on Facebook about wishing for better options. This isn’t to say they are lying intentionally, but I used to have the exact same ideals and thoughts they are having today, and I remember how indignant and angry I was when President Obama took office because I believed those ideals would be trashed and forgotten. What I mean is that when I was in their shoes, I would have shot down any whisper of a disagreement with my choice at the polls, even if I didn’t actually believe that individual would carry out my ideals. It’s either red or blue, and one must win for anything to be settled…right?
Those who feel they have lost are posting constantly on every social media outlet about their fear, their anger, their determination to protest what has occurred. Those who believe they have won are pointing fingers at the former party, laughing or shaking their heads with a gallon of judgmental blood and an ounce of love. Everywhere I look, I see Bible verses used to condemn the fearful, the prideful, and the triumphant. Here and there I can find someone who genuinely wants to remind the world that we are still one nation, but somehow I don’t think very many of the people they are reminding will believe that we are under God after what happened this week.
An expert is, by some definitions, anyone who knows more about a topic than anyone else in the room. Today I have seen a hundred opinions by the local experts on Thy Kingdom Come, Love Trumps Hate, #ImStillWithHer, and You Damn Liberals Finally Lost, Thanks Obama. Some intend to inform, while others intend to show malice. Most of the opinions have failed to sway me in any direction other than sorrowful contemplation. None of these expert opinions feel overly thought out, no matter the intent.
The root of my name is “just,” or “justice.” Maybe that’s why my heart has been raging within me for the last 24 hours. I am seeing so many fearful people clash with so many rejoicing people. Along the sidelines, there are some who choose to throw a Bible verse out in the arena, hoping it will help the waters settle enough for them to wade in. Yes, I believe Jesus is my King, too. But if all I do is claim that and then sit back, stating “My hope is in the Lord,” I am a hypocrite and a fool, deserving to be punished by the One Who has given me this sense of justice. Proclaiming my allegiance to the King should only be followed by one action: reaction.
Because I believe in the King, I must stand beside those I love who are every other ethnicity, sexuality, religion, and political affiliation. I am a Midwestern white twenty-something woman with a college education and only a small amount of student debt ahead of me. I am so, so blessed to live in a safe neighborhood and hold down a job that allows me to serve other people. But if I use those privileges to hide from the pain I see in my friends’ eyes, I do not deserve to be known by them.
My right-leaning friends and family will read this post and probably fixate on the part where I pledge my love and support to every person who is not white, straight, and evangelical Christian. My left-leaning friends and family (although I’m not sure how much family I have who fits in that category) will read this post and likely wish I would just shut up and join the protest against what happened this week. I’m not claiming to know the reaction of every person who will read this, but based on the social media posts on both sides, I know many will think these thoughts.
Pray for the brokenhearted, the wounded, the fearful. Pray for the rejoicing, the triumphant, the complacent. I believe every person in America fits somewhere within one or more of those categories.
Yes, we are a divided nation today. But that is not new, not in the least. We are all broken people, after all. So most of all, pray for peace that surpasses all understanding, and love that knows no limits.