I Just Realized

I just realized that I may not live to see a female president in the United States.

I just realized that the America I live in is not the America I thought I lived in.

This was me on election morning. Wearing white, wearing a pantsuit, and full of hope.
This was me on election morning. Wearing white, wearing a pantsuit, and full of hope.

 

I’m part of a religious community that often laments the state of “the world.” I often hear peple say how “the world” is getting worse and that we have to protect our children from “the world.”

I used to scoff at this idea. I used to think, “No, the world has never been better for women, people of color, the LBGT community” and so on. I used to remember the scripture John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” I used to say, “God loves the world. Jesus loves the world. The world is worthy of divine love; therefore, it cannot be as evil or as scary as everyone says.”

Now, I’m not so sure.

“The world” is starting to scare me too.

I’m concerned about the amount of people who thought it was okay to vote for somebody who hates women and speaks about them in derogatory and disgusting ways.

I’m concerned about the amount of people who thought it was okay to vote for somebody who hates immigrants and who has condemned an entire religion based on fear, not understanding.

I’m concerned about the amount of people who thought it was okay to vote for somebody who willfully incites violence against those who disagree with him.

I’m concerned about the amount of people who thought it was okay to vote for somebody who disregards the “sanctity of marriage” and has suggested that he would like to sleep with his own daughter.

I’m concerned about the amount of people who thought it was okay to vote for somebody who brags about breaking laws, has zero financial credibility, and who knows nothing about diplomacy.

I realize that his opponent was not without her flaws. I realize that she too disregarded laws and does not stand as the perfect example of anything.

However, I’m still concerned. I’m not sure I live in the America that I thought I lived in.

 

I’m reminded of a stanza from a favorite poem, “Christmas Bells” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

henry_wadsworth_longfellow_photographed_by_julia_margaret_cameron_in_1868

 

And in despair I bowed my head;

“There is no peace on earth,” I said;

“For hate is strong,

And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

I live in a world where I will have to fight harder for my two daughters not to be treated as sexual objects, but as human beings with dignity and rights. I now live in a world where I must question whether or not my neighbors and friends practice true charity toward the downtrodden, the immigrants, people of color, and those who are different. I now live in a world where I must wonder whether or not my dad and his partner are safe.

I live in a world where I must worry. I live in a world where the last stanza of Longfellow’s poem seems to be an impossibility.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The Wrong shall fail,

The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

 

I don’t know if this election would have given us any sort of prevailing “Right,” but I do know that we have lost.

And I have lost my ability to be optimistic about “the world.” I don’t live where I thought I lived. I feel as though I live alone.

To my family, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances who are gay, Muslim, disabled, Jewish, female, immigrants, Latina/o,  transgender, of color, or poor, we have failed you. I’m sorry.

 

“Charity never faileth” and perhaps this is my chance to practice it more than I ever thought I could.

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64 thoughts on “I Just Realized

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  1. I woke up hoping it was just a nightmare, but the reality is here. The country that I loved has disappeared. How to cope and try to make the new country better is the challenge. I am so sad at this moment that I’m not sure. Let us look to the Germany of the 30’s to try and understand if there is anything we can do to stop a repeat. I stand with you.

  2. If we want to live in a democracy we have to hope the majority were right. In England we were given a choice, not everyone liked the outcome but now we have to believe that it is a path we are meant to travel. Either to succeed or to learn from it. Now Americans have to get behind the result (as do we ours) we asked to have democracy the right to have our say we can’t change our minds because the result isn’t ours. Everything happens for a reason
    Hopefully it will work out. 😇I am just a Brit making a point for a democratic world. ( good luck America)

  3. “Out of the mouth, the heart speaks,” Luke 6:45. My heart is tired, numb, terrified, and grieving.

    A man can’t be trusted with his own Twitter account, but now he’s POTUS?

    Newspapers and pundits this morning are calling Americans to come together in solidarity to heal the great emotional rift that was the 2016 election, but wounds this big don’t heal in a few hours. They always leave behind scars and emotional trauma that are not immediately obvious.

    I have always sought to point out beauty; stars, animals, stones, flowers, shiny objects, poetry, people. But there is no beauty in fear, nor love, comfort, or friendship. There is a tribalism in fear, but it is an isolating island, nonetheless.

    The chill and damp of late autumn have finally killed the happy flowers and mildewed the house. And then comes the dark, cold, long winter. “God bless” the USA.

      1. Thank you Emily! 🙂 I have been given those reminders too, but I’m only half convinced. Nothing like feeling half the country is saying, “We don’t want the likes of you.”

  4. I’m at a loss for words. I went to bed last night after refusing to watch any of the election news, and woke up this morning thinking my husband was playing a mean trick on me. Only to find out the the whole world seemed to be playing a mean trick on me. And, I don’t even live in the US. I can only imagine how many Americans must be feeling today. I’m sorry about the results of the election. I keep trying to think of ways to make it better, but all I can think of is that if we as individuals continue to be the kind and loving people we are, everything will turn out okay int he end. Hope! 🙂

    1. I was so uplifted by the Canadian messages of support for the U.S. just a few weeks ago. I’m glad you are still with us, even though we did something so disappointing. Thanks for the solidarity! I wish this was all a mean trick.

        1. Yes, thank you Naomi, and thank you, Canada…you’ve been one of our few sources of comfort this election year. So many of us are utterly devastated. A nightmare we cannot wake from is the only way to describe it 😦

  5. I shared your sentiments about the -not the world because this world is a beautiful place which is now in grave danger- but the people, the societies in general. I, too lost my faith in religion and dare I say God two years ago and lost my faith in humanity long before that. People scare me. I’m colored, I’m a woman, I’m an immigrant and I have two children. One of them is part of the LGBT community. What can I say?

  6. You aren’t alone in this. Just under half of the United States and the full majority of the world are with you on this. It makes me question my friends and neighbors too – even my family. The US has a national mental illness and it seems to be spreading. It’s greed and hate & it sucks. I’m glad some people are finding words about hope and carrying on but I’m not there yet. I’m still gut-punched on the ground over this election.

    1. Gut-punched is the perfect description. It is wounding and will be hard to get over. But yes, how can so many of us have voted this way? Flabbergasting! (Even though I get why people didn’t like Clinton.)

  7. I am here with you and I feel what you feel. We will grieve together, but we will be brave. We will, as we always have, lead with love. In unity and resistance, we will get through this. Our communities will get through this. But for now, let’s grieve and take time to heal ourselves.

  8. I believe your concerns are based on rhetoric and embellished by the media I ask you have patience and I pray you will see his actions will indeed speak louder than his words.

      1. The America in which we now live is the same America that has always been here from the beginning. The underbelly has now shown itself, but it was always there. American has not changed, but your perception and belief has. I have said as you have ‘we’ll see!’ Will we? Did we see before? Love your daughters. Love all daughters and all sons, your family and everyone’s family…moment to moment where ever you are. You, then become the light (and love) of the world. Be well…

    1. Words are incredibly powerful. The damage he has already done with his words has been hurtful to so many and many others have used his words to justify persecution, prejudice, and hate. He used words to manipulate prejudice, fear, and ignorance to propel himself into the Whitehouse. Regardless of future words and actions he cannot take back those he has already spoken, nor can he quench the fires of hate that have already been inflamed. I grow impatient with people who downplay the power of words. The divisions he purposely exacerbated for the sake of getting elected will be a long road in healing.

  9. Don’t let you be sized down like this, America… you are stronger, show it by staying upright and continuing to confront each day the way you did until today. Giving up because a lunatic got some help from “up above” is the way loser’s act. Don’t let anyone chop your wings… We all are strong, don’t we? All over the planet, we have to fight against big idiots telling foolishnesses and nonsense… but we are a multitude, don’t forget that… and say it to your kids as well. Your kids, mine, they are our future… they are the generation which will save our Planet. Be positive, don’t let you put down on your knees.
    https://claudinegiovannoni.com/about/siamo-una-moltitudine-inarrestabile/
    Don’t forget the words of P. Hawken
    Serenity :-)claudine
    (well, I am swiss and I live in a free country but I am very much concerned about USA since they play a great global role…)

  10. Our country and its people are better than the picture drawn here. On the day of the election, I spent the afternoon making phone calls to set up Sub for Santa deliveries, along with dozens of other volunteers, many of whom voted against Hillary. How someone acts in real life says more about who is compassionate than how that person voted or what was posted online. The most giving person I know is a hard-core conservative. The most selfish person I know is also the most politically liberal person I know. Goodness isn’t defined by politics, and good people are found across the political spectrum and in all parts of our great country.

  11. Normally I feel comfort when I learn that I am not alone; today I know that over half the country feels the way I do and yet this still feels incomprehensible and like a living hell…the hell being a huge fear of the unknown, and the fear that we may not be powerful enough to overcome, since we already lost once (last night). I’m sorry for sounding pessimistic. I guess this is where I am right now. Thank you so much for writing about this, Emily. I’m thinking of you, your girls, your father and his partner, and so many others.

    1. Thank you, Cecilia. I am with you that despite those of us who are sitting together in comfort, it still feels hard and heavy. I hope to feel better and take action soon as I have seen some of my friends doing.

  12. When you are such a true believer, you should know that nothing happens without his approval – I believe that there is a reason behind everything that happens and the reason is nothing but “Good”

    Nothing stays forever and this too shall pass

  13. Being a believer, you should know that everything that happens is for a reason and thus one shouldn’t feel left out or lost in this beautiful world. I follow this thought always that “Nothing is permanent in this world”, thus whatever happens has a part to play for all good reason.

    This too shall pass and while this phase moves, there’s a lot of learning it will leave for us and our future generation. I smiled, when Donald won and told to myself, “Now what does the lord has under his sleeve and how is he going to surprise the world again” – But whatever it is, I know one thing for sure, this change too will teach us something to survive better in this so called “Good Bad World”

  14. Charity. Yes, in deep disappointment,anger and disbelief. Realizing hate and intolerance in my world runs deep. Fear if so much hate. I threw a temper tantrum last night to release my emotions . Then I meditated and thoughts came quick and sure. This fear not real. It’s just another way to divide us. Now more than ever I need to expand my influence for good. To share light, love and joy.
    I am convinced there is more good and light in the world than we see now, but also much healing that needs done. Terrible hurts on both sides that have led us to this place. I pray for eyes to see love and help others do the same. I have hope that we, not whoever is our POTUS, can heal our nation. My optimism is not perfect, but I am committed to it. Thank you for your beautiful words.

    1. Nicely put, Erin. I had my own little temper tantrum last night as well. We should’ve made it a party! Sometimes a good panic attack/hysterical cry can be medicinal.

  15. Hello Emily. I live in England but I feeel your dismay. Unfortunately this has come about I think because on the one hand people’s frustrations have been manipulated and on the other hand they have been underestimated. We have had a similar situation here with our referendum. But actually knowing that gives me a ray of hope. People are intrinsically good, and that will eventually prevail. You know, I think your final statement ‘Charity never faileth’, and the thought that we need to apply that more then ever is so true. I think you have that ‘spot on’. That is the answer to the dismay we feel. So much of what happens ‘up there’ in the government is outside of our immediate influence, even though it is of real concern, but within our sphere of influence we can do much. We can continue to be kind, to be compassionate, to look out for each other, to be inclusive, to rejoice in each other’s differences, and create peace and harmony in our homes. And as we do we will be given ways to expand that influence. I see you belong to a religious community. I love the statement in Isaiah from the Old Testament, Come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord. I believe that we can do that even amidst the darkness we may feel.

  16. Hello Emily. I live in England but I feeel your dismay. Unfortunately this has come about I think because on the one hand people’s frustrations have been manipulated and on the other hand they have been underestimated. We have had a similar situation here with our referendum. But actually knowing that gives me a ray of hope. People are intrinsically good, and that will eventually prevail. You know, I think your final statement ‘Charity never faileth’, and the thought that we need to apply that more then ever is so true. I think you have that ‘spot on’. That is the answer to the dismay we feel. So much of what happens ‘up there’ in the government is outside of our immediate influence, even though it is of real concern, but within our sphere of influence we can do much. We can continue to be kind, to be compassionate, to look out for each other, to be inclusive, to rejoice in each other’s differences, and create peace and harmony in our homes. And as we do we will be given ways to expand that influence. I see you belong to a religious community. I love the statement in Isaiah from the Old Testament, Come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord. I believe that we can do that even amidst the darkness we may feel.

    1. What nice sentiments. I like that idea of walking in the light. It feels daunting right now, but your words give me hope. You have been through it in your country and you are still hoping and positive, so I should be too. Thank you!

      1. Thank you, Lesley. I agree with and appreciate your sentiments. It is, has been, and will always be up to us as individuals. As much as some people fear and revile our current president, there is a reason why he was elected, and I am willing to give him a chance to prove that he can make the positive economic changes he has promised. (Plus, it is kind of vindicating to see how he has had to step back a bit from the extreme statements he has made now that he actually has to do the job that he said he would do so differently, and I think there will be more of this on the way.) The press and the political establishments underestimated a significant amount of Americans’ feelings about the way things have been going, and I think that is due to a narrative that has been dominated by a faction, not the entirety of the American public, some of whom voted for Trump and who I refuse to characterize as stupid, racist or xenophobic. I also do not feel, as a woman, that my rights are going to be diminished. We have come too far and we enjoy too much influence for that to happen. I also do not think that the majority of Americans will allow the LGBT community to be discriminated against. They have proven that they have too much to offer to be denigrated. I am optimistic about America’s future, but we need to be steady, fair, and persistent in our advocacy for each other. Our challenge is to see each other as individuals, rather than subscribe to any ideology absolutely and blindly. Our two political parties do not fit the needs of our country right now, and they have been too polarized to be functional. We also need dialogue, not monologue. Increasingly over the past decade, we have lost the ability to engage in dialogue or simply listen to each other, and it has hurt us. Look not only at the recent political debates; look also at the communication dynamics of the past decade of news commentators and politicians in general. The anger and intolerance for others’ ideas has eroded the flow of productive dissent that our country needs. Having productive, respectful conversations, even if the parties disagree, is a big part of the connections that we need to foster. As always, Emily, thanks for providing a forum for that.

  17. Dear Emily, what a wonderful blog! I did not vote at all, as I saw fight of polarities — call for an “open boarder” against the “wall” between “us” and “them”! Somebody accepted Nobel peace prize, and created four more wars and deepened division of white and blacks to the impossibility! Nothing is what it seems to be! I found it ridiculous to vote! I am from a Little Estonia, and so terribly old that I remember 1941-1945 when armies walked back and fro along the Polish-Baltic corridor. Our family lost all men to that war. Republicans started with Irac, Dems continued with leveling Lybia when Hillary was Secretary of States and now –Syria, bombed by anyone who have bombs, Russia included (I am a Russian national, and every explosion of a Russian bomb is breaking my heart.) Charity? There is also two ends, one is compassion, the other is …. you are writer, you know what it is. “Hey, you a Gypsy, I will toss you a penny! A poor you!” Michael Moor(e?) wrote about it once! Do I know where the truth is? As an amateur esotericist, I know that here, on earth, we learn, and hardest lessons are discovery who we really are! Good luck to all in search of the truth about ourselves, myself included! Tatyana blog tatyana.tallinn.net

    1. Oh wow. You have been through a lot and you have seen what hate and divisions can to do countries and families. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I appreciate your words!

  18. I just wanted to add my voice to the many others in support. Your post was beautifully expressed. I think as a nation, it will hopefully make you stronger and make those who want to see fairness and love, stand up and be counted. I am from Northern Ireland and I never thought I would live to see peace there in my lifetime, so don’t give up on a woman president just yet! Thank you for your post. You expressed what a lot of us are feeling.

  19. While I stood up for neither, I am sickened at the outcome. I would have been either way. As a woman, a single mother of three (one of whom is my baby girl) I am left with explaining the outcome to my children when they are bombarded with bigotry and anger from those who choose one particular party over another. I ache for our community, and as a white Christian, I pray for our country as whole. We are deeply divided. We need to be light and the change we hope to see. “It is our choices that show we truly are far more than our abilities.” (Dumbledore, Harry Potter.) While is if a fictional quote, it stands more true today. Choose love. The world is still a beautiful place, if we only choose to see the beauty. Thank you for your words, we need more kindness and compassion.

    1. Thank you for your words! They are beautiful. I hope to feel more able to practice the charity, kindness, and compassion that I know I must. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

  20. I just have to make another comment and thank you for posting this, reading the messages people have sent in support is helping me to not feel so alone in this. I have extended family that are posting victory cheers on Facebook and so excited for the wall etc. etc. etc. I’m still numb, but the numbness is clearing and I’m feeling like we just can’t give up. Thanks to all of you and especially you Emily for starting this conversation.

    1. Thank you for saying this. I felt a little overwhelmed about having posted this last night. But it helps me to know that it has helped you. It is scary to put one’s feelings and thoughts out there, but sometimes we just have to do it no matter the consequences.

  21. Emily, many, many miles away others too share in your dismay. For all the reasons you share and others as well. Even in Australia we have been satured with news of the USA Presidential election. Too bad if we wondered how some hurricane victims in your land are faring, as nothing of it appears anymore. In my country and yours the character of political leaders disappoints us greatly. It is hard to find hope in that sphere of leadership. I too share your love for John’s Gospel. We will not perish, and will taste, even now, some share in the fullness of life, while we have good people in our lives. They remind us that the goodness and patience of God is with us in the goodness of people. They are there. Thank you for sharing your struggle with such honesty, integrity and courtesy. Your blogging community hear you. 😊

    1. Thank you, Simon. Your words bring me comfort. And I realize that my country is not the most important, nor is it the most in need of support or comfort. You have inspired me to look outward instead of inward.

      1. Emily, no doubt you will find inspiration both within and without. Currently your country does need support as it smarts from shock. Cultural foment and other passion there has given the world John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, Jonathan Franzen and others, who have fired our imagination and pushed us to look and listen. Others will emerge. In some ways, you too are among them.

  22. Writing from the UK here – I had to realise 5 months ago that I didn’t live in the country I thought I did, that many more people are upset and scared and hold opinions that I find very alienating. It’s hard, and it hurts, but I promise that with a bit of time it becomes easier.

    And at the very least, your disappointment is closer to Christmas than ours was?

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