It’s hard to find adequate words to describe my feeling of anxiety this morning in the wake of Donald Trump’s apparent election. A volatile, openly misogynist, racist figure rode to victory on a wave of his own creation. He skillfully manipulated voters with the aid of a fractured news system where fact became secondary to feeling and perception. In this world, resentment of immigrants, longing for the “America of the past,” and unfiltered racism were allowed to emerge from the shadows of the cornfields.
And thus, here we are. We have on our (normal sized hands) a president who simply has no idea how to run a country, much less one as complex and obviously divided as America.
Things will get worse before they get better.
Access to healthcare for 20 million Americans may be threatened by the proposed repeal of the ACA. Immigrants and economic and political refugees may face rejection at our borders, the very ones that welcomed our ancestors. Millions more who are struggling here to support their families abroad could face deportation, ripping families apart.
Perhaps most troubling of all is the culture that our children will be raised in. Millions of young Americans will spend their first years of consciousness under a president without honor or decency, who does not show respect for their existence, who shows no sign that he believes in them as equals under God and under the laws of this land. And on top of that, they will know that millions and millions of Americans welcomed the man and his discrimination with open arms.
Waking up this morning, I’m struck with a new sense of urgency. A renewed call to action. We have work to do. We know what America can be. We need to break down the walls that isolate us. We need to work to restore facts and policies as the basis for choosing candidates.
The New Yorker editor-in-chief David Remnick’s words resonate with me this morning:
“. . . despair is no answer. To combat authoritarianism, to call out lies, to struggle honorably and fiercely in the name of American ideals—that is what is left to do. That is all there is to do.”
We need to struggle. And we must also be better to one another. How do I be better and combat this rampant othering, as a therapist, as a husband, as an American?
Today, I’m finding that the scripture comes up with another win. 1 Peter, 4:10 (NIV) says,
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
We must go forward and serve one another with a new virility, passion. We need to live that grace. We need to be better to each other. The work begins now.