Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election day blog revisited

24 hours ago, I wrote this blog. I was so sure Hillary Clinton would win the election that I didn't even entertain the alternative...

Once when my son was a little boy, I noticed he was crying and I wasn’t sure about the source of his tears. “Ben, why are you crying?” I asked him. He was quick to inform me, “I’m not crying. Water just keeps coming from my eyes.” That’s the kind of day I’m having today. Water just keeps coming from my eyes. 

Why? I’m not sure exactly, but it’s an experience that’s not unfamiliar to me. I recognize the same sensation from other times in my life. When Obama was elected president. When LGBTQ friends were finally given the right to legally marry. And now, here I go again. 

I had a preview of this day when I went to early vote. I was there the morning of the first day in my new state of Maryland. I wanted to get it over with because at least once in my life I never made it to the polls on election day when life got in the way. (As it turns out, I’m in NYC with Nick today, November 8, so I would not have been home on election day.) It was quick for me this year. After walking a couple blocks from the church to the election site, I waited in line a few minutes and was back at work within a half hour. 

I have to admit that whenever I vote, even in less consequential elections, I get all choked up as I stand in line with other citizens and consider the awesome privilege we’re exercising. All of them are complete strangers to me, and yet we’re united because we’re Americans and this is what Americans do. And no matter who we are, no matter what our marital status, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity… no matter what our color, age, religion or background…no matter how educated or accomplished…no matter what our socioeconomic status may be. We each get one vote. No more, no less. 

Yes, I’m something of a patriotic sap when I vote. I get the same way when I’m at a sporting event and they play the national anthem. It always surprises me a bit because I don’t consider myself a flag-waver. Often, I’m disappointed in my country. But the idea of America is something I cling to. And when, in the midst of my disappointment, the idea of America shows itself, I feel like someone is squeezing me around the throat and I have trouble swallowing. 

This year, as I voted early, I emerged from the voting booth with damp canals marking my cheeks. Those tears surprised me. In my head I knew it was because I was voting for the first woman who will become president, but I didn’t realize how deeply this would affect my heart. 

Today, as I wait for the rest of the country to vote and anticipate the moment this nerve-wracking election is finally over, all I can do is weep. The results haven’t been revealed yet and the tears are already flowing. Now that my tear ducts have been uncorked, there’s no stopping the water that keeps coming from my eyes. I’m a goner, probably for the next few days.

Why do I get like this? Well, here’s how I see it… I grow to accept the world as it is, and although I might like to believe things can change, I resign myself to the hard cold truth that they never will. And then, kaboom! A seismic shift in the universe jars my reality. Suddenly the world, as I thought it could never be, becomes the world that is. The enormity of the moment is too much for me to hold within myself and it’s released through water that just keeps coming from me eyes. 

And so, here I am with tissues on hand waiting for the evening to unfold. 

Well, as we all know now, it didn't go the way I had expected. Somewhere in the midst of the election results I took my blog down. It seemed inappropriate, under the circumstances. Any tears I shed last night were not tears of joy; they were tears of grief. Actually, there weren't many tears at all because I was mostly in shock. 

As I've been processing what happened, I recognize that I'm going through the stages of grief. Disbelief, anger, bargaining... I'm running through all of them. At the moment, I'm somewhere between depression and acceptance. 

I've been analyzing the election results ad nauseum, and I can't stand it any more. It doesn't really matter why it happened, who is to blame, or how it might have turned out differently if only. The American people have elected a President. 

I'm grateful that it's over. There was no need to subject ourselves to recounts or take this to the Supreme Court. For the most part, the system worked the way it was designed to work. Now we have a President Elect and his name is Donald Trump. 

Our country has a dreadful history of holding grudges over things like this. When I think about the way those who voted against President Obama intentionally stood in the way of everything he tried to do, I'm hoping and praying that doesn't happen this time. With the level of contentiousness from this campaign, I fear that it may, and I'm not sure our country can survive more of the same divisiveness that got us here.  

Donald Trump will be our next president. I've already begun to pray for him. I pray that he will rise to become the kind of President our country needs right now. I pray that, despite his campaign rhetoric, as our President, he will be transformed, and he will govern with wisdom and equity for all Americans. I intend to give him a chance to be our President. Mr. Trump, show us what you've got!

And I'll continue to spend my life as I always have. I won't put my trust in limited human beings who are sure to make mistakes (including myself). I'll trust in the God of limitless love and strive to follow the way of Jesus. That means I'll speak up for those who have no voice and advocate on behalf of the poor and marginalized among us. If necessary, I will speak truth to power, no matter where that power may be located, including the Oval Office. 

In the end, I still believe in the idea of America, and I know that the future of our nation doesn't depend on the efforts of one human being. It's up to me, and you, and all of us. We're stronger together. Hillary Clinton definitely got that part right. 

I'm still grieving today, but by January 20 I'm praying I'll be ready to move forward. My country needs me.


2 comments:

j Anderson said...

Well said, we'll miss you this Sunday. Enjoy the time with your daughter & grandson. You know that children like him are the future. Not any term by Trump, Obama, Clinton, or anyone else will take that away. Your family, your faith & his environment will mold him, hopefully not ANY politition.

Wayne Simpson said...

Nancy, my heart is breaking. I am trying really hard to be "Loving, not Judging.". Thanks for sharing!!! I love you and miss you!!!