I felt a little bit like I had gotten beat up this morning when I woke up. I was worn out and disappointed and really exhausted. I didn’t sleep much on election night, which wasn’t something I expected. I hadn’t planned on staying up to watch any of the coverage – I knew what was going to happen so there was no need. But when the numbers kept changing and adding up differently than I or the newscasters I was watching expected, I couldn’t move off my couch. Timothy and I went to bed quite late, digesting what had happened. We were silent on our separate pillows till I said,
“This is really disappointing.”
A sentiment that my mother echoed when I called her this morning on my way to work. Her voice lacked its usual enthusiasm and her first words weren’t words at all, but a heavy sigh.
“I can’t believe this is happening.”
Because it is surprising to me how hate, division, and fear have ruled and won this election. I didn’t think it would end this way. I truly thought that it would be risen above and the betterment of our entire country would be the priority, not the betterment of a political party.
And moreover, to be so very honest, I couldn’t believe that a woman didn’t win this election. I wanted her to. I wanted that victory because it wouldn’t have only belonged to her. It would have belonged to the women who died fighting for the vote and the women who somehow – magically and beautifully – still believe they can do anything despite men like Donald Trump talking to them like garbage. I watched reports of 98 year old ladies who were born before suffrage crying as they held their ballots because they waited 96 years to vote for a woman. I cried with them. I read articles about Susan B. Anthony’s tombstone getting covered in “I Voted” stickers. I cried with them, too. And I cried this morning at my desk at work, which was wildly unexpected and rather embarrassing, because I wanted to see her: Hillary, a woman strong like the women in my family, there. For my great grandmother who lived to be 102 years old and never saw a woman get so far I wanted Hillary there, and for my niece who I hope never ever ever questions her potential as a woman, I wanted to see Hillary there.
I don’t think I realized how badly I had wanted her there till this morning.
This doesn’t discount the strides women have made and I feel so sure that it won’t take another 96 years to see a woman’s name on the ballot again (major hell to pay if it does, by the way). And this doesn’t weaken the incredible potential we have in our bones and our blood, and this certainly doesn’t make me any less thrilled to death to be part of the royal sisterhood. But friends, I was so very sad this morning.
Just ask my coworker who had the unlucky privilege of being at my desk when I started to cry.
This election has been disgusting. So angry and so, so mean. I haven’t been on Facebook all month because seeing post after post after post of anger made me tense all the time. Even articles that I agreed with wore me out. You’re right: I don’t think a person who disrespects women (and minorities and the disabled and the poor) so candidly should be our president, but I’m tired of thinking about the way this man disrespects everyone. I have never thought about politics 24 hours a day but it’s been impossible to escape. The worst of it was that I started viewing those who supported Donald Trump with anger. Every car that pulled in front of me with a Trump sticker elicited swearing and hate. Articles that I disagreed with weren’t just ignored, I stewed on their stupidity all day and wondered how the author or people who shared it could possibly be so foolish. And I don’t know why I’m speaking entirely in past tense: both of these happened this morning.
But I don’t want to think that way about other people. I don’t want to participate in division because that only drives the problem deeper. I don’t want to think of you as my enemy just because our focus isn’t in the same place. I want to celebrate the fact that we live in a country where we can all vote, even if that vote doesn’t go the way I feel is right. Man. Freedom, eh? Can’t live with it, can’t live without it.
God and I have been in a weird place the last couple months. Honestly, it’s been a lot more than a couple at this point but “a couple” sounds better than “eight”. I think part of this has been my descent into election anger, though there are many factors for another blog post. But today I had peace.
I had peace because God cares about women no matter what office they hold. Moreover, God cares about the Muslims and refugees and blacks and Mexicans no matter who is in office, period. And as God’s people, we don’t need permission to love and to help. I had peace because God is a lot bigger than our president, our country, and us. And I had peace that God doesn’t care about your political party, or mine. I had peace because even if our president elect doesn’t want to open his arms to the poor, we still can. We can still fight for good.
We don’t need permission from anyone to love others. We don’t need permission to be kind or to be helpful or to be happy. I don’t need to wait for our country to close the divide to start loving people I don’t agree with. Its our duty as human beings to do that with passion that doesn’t cease. When we do, we transform our communities and country more than any politician ever could. Our love is more powerful than policies.
I don’t need a woman in office to continue fighting for equality, as much as I look forward to that day. And Donald Trump can sit in the oval office all day long as I tell my niece that her worth isn’t in her looks or body, beautiful as she is, but it’s her simple existence. It’s her brain and her actions and her furious passion. And one day I’ll tell my daughter how amazing it was to mark a woman’s name for the first time on a ballot. The first of many times.
I didn’t personally support the election of Donald Trump. I do, however, support the following wildly important things that I will turn my mind to when it wanders towards those things I can do nothing about:
I support dancing to Queen and Jimmy Eat World in the car and singing Adele really, REALLY loudly. I support drinking sangria with friends who are fiercely complex and exploding in laughter. I support writing letters for no reason except to write someone a letter. I support comfortable slippers and baggy t shirts. I support Project Runway. I support eating your feelings sometimes. I support ignoring political opinions and loving people anyway. I support being kind, because in a world where you can be anything.. be kind. Life is still such a gift even when it doesn’t go the way you really really want it to.