People are hurting on both sides of the political spectrum. People feel like they are not represented. That no one is listening to them. So much so that some cast their vote for a candidate widely seen as unfit for office. Those people did that because they want to be heard. They are tired of being portrayed as racists and bigots by mainstream media. They are tired of being told they are backwards and ignorant. And so today I am listening.
However, there are many people who woke up yesterday in fear and mourning. They too feel that no one can hear their cries. They believe the majority of Americans think their lives don’t matter. That they aren’t worthy of human dignity. They fear that they’ve lost their chance to be heard and that hate has won. And so I am listening.
This election has been incredibly messy. And as I sit in the middle, having supported neither candidate, my heart is breaking. I don’t want a Republican or Democratic America. I want a country with people who can listen. I want a country of people willing to have tough conversations. I want a country of empathy. We are all stuck on this planet in this thing called life and we aren’t going to agree on everything. But I still respect you and your opinion. I still believe that you are worthy of human dignity and the rights thereof. Disagreement is part of being human. We all come from different backgrounds, different cultures, religions, race, sexual orientations, etc. It is impossible for all of us to agree on everything. But that shouldn’t mean we alienate ourselves from people who see differently from us. In fact, I think we need more people willing to be friends with people with different opinions. That’s the only way our society will become more loving and accepting.
So I am urging you to step away from social media. Get out of your echo chamber and learn about an ideology that isn’t your own. Feel your feelings. Be angry and be upset or be relieved and optimistic. But after processing those emotions, we must come together or we will surely fall even more apart. As it says in 1 Corinthians 13:1,”If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal”. Gongs and symbols make lots of noise, but ultimately drive people away. Let’s be loving by putting love into action. For love is patient and kind. It is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, it’s always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
Showing this love may require you to accept the fact that we are all sinners. We have all shown judgment or discrimination at some part in our lives. We have all said hateful things or regretted our actions. We must accept our shortcomings, ask forgiveness from those whom we have hurt, and move forward without grudge or shame. It’s time for our fledgling country to mature and become an adult. And with that maturity comes a responsibility to put aside our differences and work together as one nation. It isn’t too late.