As someone who has long held deep reservations about both candidates, I am neither rejoicing nor mourning today. Things like contested conventions, one or both candidates dropping out, or a third-party candidate having a shot have long seemed like pipe dreams. As a result, several months ago I accepted the inevitability that on Wednesday, November 9th, our nation would have chosen a President about whom I would hold significant concerns.
But like just about everyone else, I didn’t expect that Donald Trump would be the target of those concerns once the election was over. My purpose in writing today is not to recap those concerns, though I did write about some of them roughly a month ago. (Just in case it’s not clear, the referenced post is nowhere near a comprehensive list. Those were just my concerns on that particular day.) No, on my mind this morning are thoughts about the way forward. Where do we go from here? What do we do next? Three lines of thought dominate that narrative for me:
- All of us need to be agents of reconciliation, not division.
Of major concern to overwhelming numbers of people seems to be how divided we are, and I’ve seen plenty of finger-pointing as to why. It’s Obama’s fault. It’s the media’s fault. Conservatives are to blame! Liberals are to blame!
Stop it, y’all. Just stop. Please.
We still have more in common with one another than not. We still need to work together, heal, love one another, and not trash the “other side.” The online world in particular, where there is the perception of greater distance and anonymity, is often the most caustic. As such, I’d like to throw out a gentle reminder to people of good will that there is a human being on the other side of that screen. Just like you, that person wants a better world in which to live. It just happens that they disagree with you on the best way to get there.Friends on the right: please be gracious. There are human beings who are grieving and genuinely frightened for their futures this morning–especially many of your friends who are minorities. Decency demands that you not pile on at a time such as this.Friends on the left: I realize you are hurting, angry, frightened and feeling betrayed by your country. I genuinely hurt for you, and it stinks that you are having to go through this. Even in your hurt, I ask that you be gracious as well. Lashing out and name-calling those who voted differently from you may feel cathartic temporarily, but in the long run it only serves to deepen the divide and is ultimately unproductive.
- Everyone, on both sides of the aisle, take a deep breath. We have no real idea about a large part of his agenda.
This point is probably a little more applicable to those concerned about a Trump Presidency, but I doubt reasonable Trump supporters would disagree, either. Off the top of my head, during the course of the campaign, he put forth multiple (and often-contradicting) positions on immigration, the Muslim ban, abortion, going after the families of terrorists, and the minimum wage. I’m not sure anyone (including Mr. Trump himself) has a strong sense of what his Presidency will emphasize. Wisdom would seem to dictate a fair amount of “let’s wait and see.”
- People of faith, we need to pray.
This one should go without saying, but it’s most certainly worth saying. Love him or hate him, agree with him or disagree with him, the people have spoken, and he is the President-Elect. My church prays for Barack Obama nearly every Sunday. I’m sure the same will be true for Donald Trump. I ask that individuals do likewise. One thing I was reminded of by praying for Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton the last three weeks is that prayer changes the nature of the one who prays. I’m unquestionably less fearful about the impending Trump presidency than I was prior to undertaking that endeavor.
1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior… -1 Timothy 2:1-3
Thanks for reading. Let’s lift one another up. We’ll get through this. Together.