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.
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.
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.