Love More: Trump and the Country We Know

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Sad love heart symbol back ground by robsonphoto

The first thing I want to say is that it’s okay to be horrified and scared and to feel sick. It’s okay because those are real feelings that are called for by this situation.

Our fellow Americans just elected a narcissistic, misogynist bully to be the president of the United States. That’s a very hard pill to swallow.

That’s a very hard thing to try to explain to your children. That’s a very hard thing to confront for those of us who have been bullied and marginalized.

The first thing I am saying is that it’s important to feel and honor your feelings and not let anyone tell you they are not real. Don’t let anyone imply it’s not okay to experience them. Don’t let anyone, especially your own self, convince you to hide them.

And that leads me to the next thing I want to say. It’s okay to cry and be upset, to rage, or to just sit on the couch bewildered about what just happened. My friends, in the next days and weeks, and maybe even months, we will grieve. We will grieve the America we thought was slowly but steadily being built. We will grieve for the distance we feel between ourselves and friends and family members who don’t see the potential of the country the same way we do. We will grieve for the loss of the compassionate and welcoming society we thought was blooming forth. And we will grieve because our illusions of equality have fallen away and we know better than ever that the strong master, patriarchy, still owns us all.

But now I want to tell you something else.

These election results mean we need to love more.

We need to love all the people who have been made to feel less than welcome in the United States. We need to love the people who have been scared by the hateful rhetoric of the Trump campaign, by the confederate flags with “Trump” pasted on them, by the idea that they may lose their health insurance, their fragile new right to get married, their right to say no. We need, especially, to love the people who now have to live with the fear that their loved ones, parents, spouses, friends, or relatives might be deported.

But we also need to search ourselves and find a way to love those people who honestly thought they were doing the right thing when they cast their vote for this man. They are not our enemy. Their fear, confusion, feelings of disenfranchisement, and willingness to overlook the lies, bullying, and misogyny of the president elect can and will be interpreted in a hundred different ways by a hundred different people over the coming days.

There are as many reasons for voting for this man as there are people who voted for him.

So leave the “figuring it out” to the people who get paid to do that.

All we need to know is one thing. And, surprisingly, it was a campaign slogan.

Love trumps hate.

We can react by demonizing those who brought the next four years upon our country. We can judge them and denigrate them and turn on them. And in doing so, we will perpetuate the very situation that led us all to this point.

Or we can try to figure out how to love more and love better. We can work to open ourselves up and allow Her love to move through each of us in a way that will dampen the resurgence of violence and fear that we are feeling in our country.

And we need to make sure our love is known and felt, not just here but across national borders and around the world.

Perhaps, confronted with today’s reality, you think these words are naïve. Perhaps you feel this situation calls for a different kind of action than you feel love allows.

But love allows many different types of actions. Love allows fearless responses. Love allows calling out injustice. Love allows demonstrating, civil disobedience, and speaking truth to power. Love even allows righteous anger.

But love only allows these things if they are rooted in a naked compassion for all participants in this dance of life.

So I ask each of you, my friends, to honor the feelings moving through you, because experiencing our feelings is the only way to know and find compassion for ourselves.

I ask each of you to welcome your grief, because on the other side of grief is the illumination of truth.

And I ask each of you to join me in learning a different and better way to love.

 

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Marg Herder
Marg Herder is the Director of Public Information for EEWC-CFT, a Christian feminist organization working for gender (and LGBTQIA) justice in Christianity since 1974. She is the content manager and developer of the organization’s website, Christian Feminism Today. Marg identifies as a trans* lesbian writer, musician, and feminist spiritual seeker. She works to draws attention to the ongoing violence directed at women and LGBTQIA people in this “Christian” society, the desperate need for an understanding of God that includes the Divine Feminine, and Christ/Sophia’s desire that each of us move deeper into our own practice of non-violence.

15 COMMENTS

  1. You acknowledge that we WILL indeed grieve. And we are… Then you add, “But now I want to tell you something else.These election results mean we need to love more.” You go on to include those that voted for this man with words of hurt and hate. I do personally know and love people that honestly thought they were doing the right thing. And I thank you for reminding us of that. My cousin was one of those. And it was she who reached out to me to comfort me during my feeling betrayed by my fellow Americans. I am not done grieving. I am not done being concerned for the many out here, many that I love and care about, that are in fear of their safety. But I do know there are others like my cousin out there. I know that they are not all haters. And I want to offer a safe place to them as well. Wow. This is so not going to be easy…

    I just love you Marg and I love your way with words… how you express your thoughts and feelings. Never stop.

  2. Very important words, especially from Christians specifically. It’s our work, particularly white, fairly well-off Christians, to be the go-between for these different groups. We have the privilege to have the Trump voters speak to us and be able to listen without fear. We also have the privilege that it’s more likely they will listen to us than to so many groups that have been blamed for so many of our country’s problems. It’s a great responsibility and something we need to take on with kindness and empathy.

  3. Thank you, Marg. Just what I needed to hear. This is all so hard and we know dialog and love and understanding is what we need (or at least one component of what we need) but it is so hard to find a way to be heard.

  4. I can read your fear, pain and horror at the result. I can feel it from my LGBT friends. I am afraid to write this in the fear that it will hurt any person who reads it. Not my goal at all.

    I don’t think real compassion and welcoming can be legislated. Please take a deep breath and imagine that there are many of us Republicans who love you and are much more likely to stand with you knowing we risk being hated and distrusted by both “sides”.

    I took a chance 3 years ago and stepped outside my “just like me” world. On a small scale, in a personal, real way I feel love and acceptance from your “side” and I hope my friend feels the same from my”side”. When I listen to the big loud voices on your side I feel the hate towards me and my sons and it makes me very afraid.

    I will humbly suggest what my friend and I often have to do. Make your world smaller as you walk through these next days and months, because the big load voices on both sides do not represent love on either side. Down the road look for opportunities to get to know some of us White, Republican, Conservative, Christians who are not out to destroy you but to learn more about you and love you.

    Please offer me grace if something I just wrote hurt you in any way. My friend may be able to confirm that it is never my intent. (Afraid to hit send… I never even post on Facebook)

    • Mickey, thank you for your courage in submitting this comment. You said, “When I listen to the big loud voices on your side I feel the hate towards me and my sons and it makes me very afraid.” I think this statement underscores the incredible need for all of us to temper our reactions with much compassion, lest the situation become even more polarized.

      I feel the fear and anger about what happened, just like so many others. But my anger is not directed at people, my anger is about how these new communication tools which allow us to interact with each other so freely, finally, for the first time in human history, are being used and abused to do nothing more than support the ages old game of “us and them.” It reminds me of the awful way children sometimes behave when there is no adult around to help them learn the importance of treating others with kindness. Kids must be taught that only when everyone cooperates can a situation be created in which we all feel, at least, safe enough to stop inadvertently or intentionally hurting each other.

      We could, in this moment, be using this new way of communicating just as you have here, to express your own feelings and fears, kindly, carefully, and gently, so that those of us in a different situation can feel some empathetic understanding, and learn how to better connect with you and others who see things differently than we do.

      Perhaps when it comes to the internet and the explosion of different media sources (that so often reinforce the “us vs. them” paradigm). most of us are still children. I mean no put down here, simply that it is so new for so many to be able to write words that so many others can see. And I guess, really, there is no adult around to teach us.

      Unless, maybe, Jesus. (And others who walked among us and spoke from a place of enlightenment.)

      My sadness comes from how difficult it is to see any path that will help us come together as citizens, any kind of resolution in which we can approach each other as equally valid representations of the divine image. That understanding is the key to all of this. That each of us is made in the divine image. Each of us. The thing that stops us from believing that is ONLY human judgment.

      It doesn’t help any of us to fall into the trap of “us and them” thinking. This whole thing is about different versions of WE. People of faith are called to lead the way by exploring the WE with compassion, not condemnation.

      I know what courage it took for you to post this, Mickey. And I am so grateful you did.

  5. I agree that we must love, and under all circumstances. Sometimes this means the tough love of pointing out to people that their self-interested choice, their vote, caused great harm to others. Whatever the reason to vote for him, the result was to endanger and disempower many people, some of whom will lose their lives from the legitimization of bullying and hate. The already frayed fabric of our culture has been torn apart in such a way that we will likely not restore it without a revolution in values: the kind of values that would make this kind of choice utterly unthinkable no matter how the economy is going, or no matter what one’s opinion is about people who are not like them.

    • Susan, thank you so much for sharing this with the rest of us.

      Here’s my take, for what it’s worth.

      I think we have so much work to do before we get to the point that choosing a very wealthy white male celebrity who is a political outsider and speaks in generalizations that feed into the very visceral fears and very real frustrations of so many people becomes a “kind of choice utterly unthinkable.” To some people the choice is utterly unthinkable, yes. To a whole lot of others, it isn’t. These are not bad people. We need to understand the reasons that outweighed his bullying, verbal violence, and complete narcissism. And for most of those who voted for him, I bet those reasons are not bigotry, racism, or homophobia.

      That’s what I am trying to focus on, what that work looks like. How to understand and address the reasons people felt they needed to vote for this kind of person. And I think that work looks more like love, more like compassion and encouraging civil discussion, probably even more like listening than speaking words that condemn.

      I totally respect the right of people to feel differently than I do. And I’m grateful that you took the time to share how you see the whole thing.

      I don’t work in politics so there’s not much I can do in that realm. I’m trying to figure out what someone like me can actually do. Expressing more love toward all people is something I can do.

  6. I am giving the message this Sunday at Sacred Path. I woke up at 3 am on my birthday and found out then that our next president will be D Trump. I felt sick and could not go back to sleep. Later that day the teaching of Jesus to Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you” arose from within me. D Trump has exposed the ugly underbelly of the bigotry that remains in our country, and I now I have awakened to the fact that a large number of Americans in the rust belt feel existentially threatened by the increasing diversity of our nation and economic globalization. In a couple of weeks I will be giving a speech at Toastmaster’s about creating an epidemic of kindness. I plan to continue being a potent virus that infects people with kindness.

  7. Thank you so much for starting with “feel your feelings.” My experience teaches me how important that is. Thinking and problem solving too soon is not effective. And thank you for including compassion for those “others” who elected this man. I am challenged here but see it as necessary. The shock of how divided we really are as a country. That hit me so hard.

  8. Thank you, my dear friends. Each of you, Jann, Linda, Steph, Marilyn, and my love Lisa, are so important to me. I woke up in the morning on Wednesday and couldn’t go back to sleep so I wrote this. Didn’t edit, didn’t slave over the words, just typed what came. It helped me to write them, and I’m grateful that it helped you to read them.

  9. Yes thank you, Marg. This helped me so much. Especially ‘…if rooted in naked compassion for all…” and, the way to finding compassion for ourselves, and then the last bit, “…the other side of grief is the illumination of truth.” <3

  10. Dear Marg,

    Thank you for your wise, thoughtful, caring, honest words. I have been in shock all day. This moment in election history seems like it can’t be true–and then I realize all over again that it is true. I will take your words to heart, and read them regularly, to help myself keep in some kind of balance.Take care–and all of us must be caring for one another. Love to all, Linda

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