Late night blogging is probably to be discouraged, but the election returns are freaking out many of my loved ones. If I’m honest, they are disappointing me. No matter who wins the White House, I’m disappointed that so many people across the nation would be willing to vote for a man with such a dangerous temperament, no discernable plans or policies to offer, and slippery morals that are no example to our children.
We already knew that racism, sexism, and bigotry were problems in our country. Tonight reveals it to be a bigger problem than we, than I, had wanted to see. Perhaps this is the ultimate illustration of privilege–my inability to see those factors just because they weren’t impacting my life on a daily basis.
People are asking me why they shouldn’t be despairing tonight, as the election returns come in in ways we hoped would not happen.
I’m not sure I have much in the way of wisdom to offer yet.
But at the least, when people of color, or women, or people in the LGBTQ community, tell you that they face racism, homophobia, and sexism in the living of their days–we all better damn well believe them, listen to them, and call it out as it happens.
That’s just for starters.
We also need perspective. Our republic has been here for over 200 years. And it has had racists, sexists, and bigots in it all of those years. The reason it seems so much worse at this moment in history is because we’ve made real progress and change in recent years.
While electing a black man as President in 2008 didn’t end racism, it was still a really big deal.
We also got marriage equality, which has furthered exponentially the process of bringing our LGBTQ friends out of the closet and into greater public acceptance. It didn’t end homophobia, and we aren’t done, but it is still a really big deal.
We are already a nation of people from every land and creed. Even if we were to close our borders right now, we are already going to be a white minority country in the coming decades. It is already a reality. It is up to us to live into it with grace, hospitality, and an understanding that we are stronger when we are together.
The fact that this election is so close reminds us that we have work to do. The progress we’ve made in recent years has not been seen as progress by about half of the nation because they have voted to dial it back.
And they may succeed in the short term, in some ways.
Ultimately, though, I have faith in us. We aren’t the only great nation in the world, and we certainly have work to do, but we are a nation full of really wonderful people. We can do this. I’ve been hearing stories lately of people who have overcome remarkable odds and have thrived.
More than that, I have faith in God and trust God is at work in this world, and in our lives. And one of the ways God is at work in our world is through us. When we are kind, when we lift up the downtrodden, when we stand up to injustice, when we lighten the burdens of others–people catch glimpses of God’s mercy.
I know it is hard to see tonight, but that is the measure of faith–to keep working for things we can’t quite see. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
A quote I keep near me at all times is from W.H. Auden:
“To choose what is difficult all one’s days, as if it were easy, that is faith.”
It doesn’t matter who sits in the White House if we decide to come together, and choose what is difficult, as if it were easy.