Wednesday, November 9, 2016

My Heart Will Go On

I cannot celebrate the election of Mr. Trump as the next POTUS simply because he is a republican and will further restrict abortion access. I cannot, I will not celebrate election of Mr. Trump on the basis of “pro-life” because pro-life also means being for women, for people of color, for immigrants, for refugees, for LGBTQ+, for disabled. You, as one individual voting for Mr. Trump may not have been trying to tell the people around you that their lives do not matter but collectively, last night, that message was made clear.

I’m overwhelmed by the fact that everyone was able to overlook the countless racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic hateful things out of Mr. Trump’s mouth. To pretend that these things are not real issues in our country is a joke. Simply because an issue does not impact your life directly, does not mean that thousands or millions of others are not directly impacted and hurt by comments and words, policies and practices. I’m overwhelmed by the fact that everyone was able to overlook the fact that Mr. Trump has not only committed sexual assault but glorifies and condones sexual assault. We wonder why victims of abuse, assault, and rape often do not come forward. Here is your answer –collectively as a country we told victims their pain is not important and that their pain can be overlooked.

I’m overwhelmed at how many just don’t get it. They don’t understand my sadness, my frustration, or my fear for my friends, for people, and our country.

I’m sad for my sisters and other women who continue to be told they are less valuable and less capable than a man. I’m sad for people of color who are fearful for their lives and who are told day after day they are second-class citizens to white Americans. I’m sad for immigrants who come here seeking a better life, the American Dream, and are told they cannot have one, not here. I’m sad for refugees who come here fleeing for their lives and are told they cannot be protected here. I’m sad for LGBTQ+ community who loves in fear and feels like their love is invalid. I’m sad for the disabled who are told they are not able. I’m sad that our country as a whole continues to be unable to recognize the inherent worth and value of every human being.

I cannot, I will not celebrate the election of Mr. Trump on the basis of anything. I cannot celebrate but I can honor and respect you as the President of my country. Secretary Clinton nailed it, “our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power, and we don’t just respect that, we cherish it.” Mr. Trump surprised us when he decided to run for the Republican nomination, Mr. Trump surprised us when he received the Republican nomination, Mr. Trump surprised us last night when he won the presidency. I pray that Mr. Trump will continue to surprise us; this time by the way he leads our country. I will wait and hope that I am surprised by where our country goes over the next four years. I will wait.

I will not however, stand by and watch Mr. Trump continue to be racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, or homophobic. Again, Secretary Clinton nailed it, “[our constitutional democracy] enshrines other things – the rule of law, the principle that we’re all equal in rights and dignity, and the freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these things too – and we must defend them.” As president I fully expect Mr. Trump to respect and honor the dignity of the people of America.

To my fellow female friends, to my friends of color, to my immigrant friends, to my refugee friends, to my LGBTQ+ friends, to my disabled friends – I see you; I am with you. You, each of you, are loved, you are valued, you are treasured, and you belong. I am sorry that you fear for your life and for your well-being and for that of marginalized and oppressed like you. My heart breaks for each of you and for your pain and for your fear. I choose today and everyday to enter the pain with you and to fight with you and for you.

As a social worker, our work does not end and our world does not end. Our fight for social justice continues. Our role of fighting with and for the marginalized has always been a difficult one but today it became much more challenging and all the more necessary. However, we do not despair. Fellow social workers, we continue our pursuit for justice.

As a believer in Jesus Christ, our work does not end and our world does not end. In the midst of election season, today in particular, I find myself grateful to serve a God who is all-knowing and all-powerful in a world of chaos and injustice that my human mind will never be able to grasp. I do not need to have the answers or the plans; I need only follow Jesus and lift His name high. I’m grateful that God was not surprised by the election of Mr. Trump. I’m grateful that God, in His wisdom and mercy, called me out of my comfort zone, to a new church. The church God led me to, not by coincidence, was and is studying Daniel. Daniel lived in a country not following God yet remained faithful to our God and did not dishonor the King. I’m daily reminded of Daniel’s faithfulness to his God in the midst of his less than stellar circumstances. I’m also reminded of God’s faithfulness to His people, His sovereignty over the kingdom of Babylon, His mercy to those who did not follow him, and His justice. I do not seek to understand where God is leading America, only to be faithful like Daniel was faithful. It is my prayer that we will love people well, that we will seek justice at every turn, that we will extend grace and mercy fully, and that my life would be lived humbly.

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8