Today is the second day after the election for President of the United States and the outpouring of emotion from citizens of our nation is reflected in social media, protests, on the faces of stunned Hillary supporters, and the tweets of vindicated Trumpsters.
As a former Independent and recent Democrat, yesterday was hard for me. When I woke up, I had a sinking feeling that lingered from the previous night that showed the Republican candidate ahead. Before I checked any news sources or social media outlets, I prayed. I asked God to help me surrender to whatever the outcome. I reminded myself of who was really in control of me, my body, and mind. I stayed in prayer until I was at peace knowing that no one controls me, my body, and mind, but me and God. In that spirit, I began to open up to the idea of the candidate I didn’t support. It was the first time I’d done that or even considered it. Just that little bit of openness brought me some relief.
A sense of calm directed me in my continued meditation. It occurred to me that the person in the office of the president has less power over my day (or life, for that matter) than I do. I began to recall how detached I’d been to politics in my upbringing. In fact, my family and friends were so divorced from the political process that, sad to say, I sometimes only recalled there was an election because of the interruption of my television lineup. That’s how little I felt represented in the political process.
Barack Obama changed that for many of us. He ignited the belief that maybe our voices could be heard. He encouraged us to show up and vote! He made inspiring speeches and fired us up! We respected what he stood for and how he represented the nation on the international stage. We felt proud to offer support-typically in $20 increments as he contended for the presidency; and with that support and his own determination to bring our concerns to the table, he made it all the way to the White House! We slept better under his leadership for eight years, trusting his intention and believing he was making the best choices for the country.
This recent presidential election deconstructed my trust in good intentions. I think many people are hurt because they feel that bad behavior was rewarded and will persist in light of this outcome. The level of discourse during this campaign was such that I was loathed to watch. As a diplomatic person, I abhor vile behavior (and speech) against any human beings. There wasn’t much I could view; preferring to catch bite-size clips through social media platforms like FaceBook and Hulu. And what I caught was reprehensible.
This campaign astonished me as the world was introduced to the normalizing of hate speech that featured racist rants, and misogyny. That's why some people are picketing. They're doing what they can to speak out against the ugliness. Now, I’m grown and know such things as we heard on the campaign trail exist. I know they’re out there, but to see it endorsed and stoked by someone pursuing the office of the president was deeply unsettling. For this, I hurt...and pray.
So, here I sit, two days after the presidential election, resolved and at peace. Not happy, but at peace. Yesterday, I couldn’t bear to watch the news; however, I saw Clinton’s concession speech which left me sad, inspired and hopeful at the same time. Today, I’m committed to simply follow my God. That’s it. I know he still cares what I do, say, and think. I’ll submit to authority because of my respect and love for God. That’s the spirit in which I’ll move forward and my only hope for growing open to this new administration.