domingo, 20 de noviembre de 2016

Initial Reaction--Election 2016

Disclaimer:  for those of you who are sick to death of political posts, this one might not be for you.  In fact, skip my next few posts.  But for my own mental health, I need to write this out.  
And if you´re not sure if you should keep reading (depending on which side of the aisle we stand on), I am with the half of the country that voted for Clinton.  

But, like the vast majority of my facebook peeps, I´m on the side of unity.  (Y´all are a great bunch!)

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Flashback to nearly two weeks ago.  Once my kids were safely tucked away for the night, I knew that polls were closing in much of the country, and CNN could begin reporting concrete results, and not just the same hot air they´ve been spewing for the past few months.

OK, I did check before dinner, when they called Indiana, Kentucky, and Vermont.  No surprises there.
Being from Indiana, the results of the rest of the night didn´t shock me either.  It was always clear that this was going to be a close election.  It´s been clear that both sides of the aisle want change.  After all, that was Obama´s platform eight years ago.  That was why Bernie Sanders did so well in the primaries.

Really, this election was about voting for change versus the establishment.

Normally, I´d be excited about the "change" candidate.  And the optimistic side of me is clinging to a thread that Trump´s version of change will be exactly what we need.

Except that he scares the crap out of me.

But I really, really want him to succeed.  Because if he doesn´t, we´re all going down with that ship.

So, back to that Tuesday night.  As the results were rolling in, I began to get nervous that Trump might just win the popular vote but lose the Electoral College.  He had been claiming for weeks that the system was rigged against him.  Can you imagine the stink he´d have made if that was the case?  (Now, I know plenty of people will cite all the protests that are happening all over the country, but Clinton is not instigating them.  She conceded the election the following day.)

At about 12:30, it was clear that Trump has scored both the Electoral College and the popular vote. While I wasn´t thrilled with the outcome, it was a clear result, and I went to bed at peace.

On Wednesday, I turned on CNN again, to hear Clinton´s concession speech.  It was then, after a peaceful night´s sleep, that I found out that Clinton--not Trump--won the popular vote.  Immediately, I sobbed like a baby.

What the heck?  I was OK with the result the night before!  Where did all this emotion come from?  I mean, it´s politics, for pity´s sake!  Ugh.  

It just took me back to 2000, and the disastrous results of that election.  It took me back to the night before, when my husband wandered in and out to listen to the results, shaking his head, muttering, "that´s not a democracy."  My cries echoed all the pent-up frustration I carry around about how my Democrat vote in Indiana usually counts for nothing.  (And then we wonder why half of the population doesn´t vote.)

But I´ll save my examination of the Electoral College for another post.

Still, I was surprised at my reaction.  I kept exhibiting symptoms of shock or depression for the next few days.  I was shaky, jittery, teary, and felt like I was always holding my breath, like I could never fully exhale.  I mean, for pity´s sake--it was clear the election could go either way, and the last thing I want to be is a sore loser!

On Thursday, I finally sat down with my Bible and looked up the reading for the day.  Out of curiosity, I looked up the reading for Wednesday (which I missed for being too consumed by the election).

      "Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.  
       At one time, we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.  We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.  But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.  This is a trustworthy saying.  And I want to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good."
                                                                                 -Titus 3:1-8

Wow.

OK--to be fully honest, I´m not ready to read that first verse.  It pretty much just served as an attention-grabber.  Maybe someday I´ll be ready to read it.  But not yet.

But the rest of it?  Yes.

By stepping back and looking at the bigger picture, my symptoms of depression and shock evaporated.  I could finally exhale.

Regardless of who won, we still live in a world that is controlled by malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.

As Christians, we know we that we are free of that cycle--but not by anything we´ve done.  We simply accept the gift of freedom that Jesus gave us, and spend the rest of our lives living out our gratitude, "devoting [ourselves] to doing what is good."

At least, that´s the way it should be.  It´s easy to get distracted.  It´s easy to get caught up in all that malice, envy, and hate that dominate the world.  But this isn´t the end of the story.

Or, as my friend David Bauser posted on facebook the day after the election, "We have work to do.  We all have neighbors who are hungry, homeless, uneducated, fearing for their lives or their loved ones, feeling isolated, betrayed, abandoned, and attacked.  We have a new president-elect but the Gospel has never changed.  Let´s get to work."