response to the election, from one disappointed

Posted: November 9, 2016 in Uncategorized

Politics swing.  

I’ve reminded myself of this for eight years, while the president for whom I joyfully voted twice has fought to get good things done, with a surprising amount of success, considering how many people were fighting to stop him from doing anything.  I’ve reminded myself as he has been spoken of with absolute disrespect, in disgusting and troubling terms.  Watching people who did not agree with Barack Obama disparage him and assassinate his character, I made myself a promise.

Politics swing, which means we won’t have a president I would choose forever, I reminded myself, and when it swings back to someone with whom I disagree, I will not be like this.

I will respect the office of the president.  I will not support those who refuse to cooperate with him based not on what he’s doing, but almost purely on a preset determination to block him at absolutely every turn.  I’ve watched, and I’ve reminded myself, and I’ve solemnly promised, over and over, that I will not be, nor support, the kind of thing I’ve been watching in the anti-Obama camp for the last eight years.  I will take the high ground.  I will operate with integrity.

 I will honor God by honoring others – by trusting Him in this way.  I will trust the scripture that says God puts authorities into place, even when I can’t see why He’d allow that particular person.  Whether I think we are following His ways as a nation, or He’s just letting us destroy ourselves because it’s what we insist upon, I will know to trust Him in the midst.

These are the promises I’ve been making myself for eight years, because politics swing.  Because this day was coming sooner or later, though for sure I never anticipated it would be to this severity.

Now I get to stand by what I’ve been promising.  I knew it would be hard.  I never guessed it would be THIS hard.  I never guessed we’d elect a person that I’ve feared might bring all our weaknesses crashing down on our own heads and literally end us as a nation, and back him up with a house and senate that seem unlikely to check his decisions.

But we did.  And I’ve got promises to keep.

The election is over.  Apparently this is what we’re going to do.  I couldn’t disagree more strongly with the end result.  I don’t like it.  It frightens me deeply – waking up to the news this morning felt like waking up inside a nightmare.  But one thing I know at 50 is that my feelings aren’t the point of the story. 

Acting rightly is my next directive.  Trust is the only imperative.  Living my faith to the best of my understanding is my purpose.  Praying for those in authority will be a more important assignment for me than it’s ever been before.  If I only pray for those with whom I agree, I fail my assignment in a way for which I’d prefer not to have to answer.

Details I’ll be focusing on to get through these next four years in a way that honors God include:

  1.  I will work with all the rigor in me to use respectful words, tones, and attitudes while speaking about those in authority.  I don’t have to agree with them, but I really believe respect and decency are required of me.
  2. I will pray for those in authority.  This is something I’ve done over the years, both when I’ve liked who we had and when I haven’t.  The fear in me at this point will drive me to pray much more deliberately, and I don’t mean those jackass prayers where you dig a scripture out that is asking for someone to die.
  3. I will speak hope.  Eight years of listening to folks say how terrible it is from the “other side” have taught me this much:  I don’t need to speak negativity into an already difficult world.  I will find a way to speak hope, and I will not walk around complaining incessantly about our government.
  4. I will stand up for those being oppressed.  There’s a list that comes easily to mind of folks who are endangered by the direction it appears we are swinging as a country.  I will not fail them by being too selfish to stay informed or too lazy to speak up on their behalf.  Respecting those in authority doesn’t mean I don’t push back.  I’ve got an assignment to push back and hold people accountable – respectfully.  I will be faithful to that assignment.
  5. I will sow peace.  It might be tempting in days ahead for those of us who didn’t choose this path to say bitter, acrimonious things to/about those who did, especially if an opportunity arises for the “I told you so” line.  I will flee that temptation.  I will trust that those who made this choice did so on their best understanding and intention, even if I can’t understand it even a little bit, and I will sow peace between the people like me and the people like them.  We have been failing for a long time as a culture in our inability to disagree with love and respect.  I can’t control how others disagree, but myself – that’s my responsibility, and when I tend to that responsibility, it DOES affect the world around me.  I will choose love and respect.  We need not to be a country of two camps at war with each other.   Perhaps it’s not too late to pull out of that spiral.  I will do my part.  Today I will start by congratulating those near me who wanted the election to go this way, and I’ll do it without any snottiness.
  6. I will be true to the way God created me to be.  I am certain that God’s ways aren’t only liberal or only conservative, as we use those terms.  I believe He stirs up different fires and passions in different people, and that we walk those out imperfectly, hamstrung by our humanness, our frailty, our baggage, our insecurities, our believed lies, our self-interest, and our always-underdeveloped faith.  So we’re all imperfect “receivers,” but He can certainly call me to be my wild-eyed liberal self and you to be your staunch conservative self and use the music of that interaction for the betterment of this world.  He can do that, because He’s God, and not us (a truth to which I cling especially hard this morning).  I am not called to “switch teams” as His follower – I am called to live out all the best parts of the way I lean, and to seek to understand and appreciate the leanings of those who are created differently than me.  We need to give up the narratives that say liberals are idiots and conservatives don’t care – these are caricatures that are used every day to turn us against each other, and we are better than that.  We are.

That’s what I’ve got, folks.  Please, I beg you, if you too feel like you woke up inside a nightmare this morning, join me.  Don’t give in to the temptation to fall into bitterness and get stuck there.  Don’t cooperate with the negative forces that want us to only complain and fight and go all obstructionist or proclaim the end of all things.

And you who are celebrating your win this morning:  remember how you felt like my candidate was going to destroy us as a nation.  I know you did – I heard you saying so.  It’s the same feeling from the other side.  Remember that feeling, and show a little compassion while the rest of us work to process this.  And hey…I’ll ask you too.  Join me.

None of us wants to endure another election like the horror of this one.  You and me – let’s be the people who push us toward something more hopeful, the next time around.

Signing off as…

In this world, but not of it.

  1. Cindy Maynard says:


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