Election Day 2016

I… I don’t know what to say.

I am a middle class white male but Donald Trump does not represent me.

I don’t know what to say, I don’t know how I feel right now.

There is a great division in America right now. The vote between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was incredibly close. There are a lot of people who voted for something that did not happen. There are a lot of people who are angry and upset and scared of what may happen. There are a lot of people who fundamentally (and often extremely vociferously) disagree with each other.

I don’t know what to say. I don’t have any pithy sayings or meaningful aphorisms. There are no jokes or motivational statements. There is no easy answer to the question on many of our minds: What happens now?

I was at a Boy Scout meeting last night and heard a 13 year old boy recite the Scout Oath and the Scout Law – two things I memorized a long time ago, and I promised to live by them.

“On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”

“A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”

I hope that it can be said of me that I live up to both of those statements. And one other, “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”

I have seen very little of these qualities in the man now elected as President of the United States, an office where these qualities are so desperately needed. I hope to be able to endure all things.

I must admit, as a straight white Christian man, I will probably not see much impact in my personal life. I have a good job and good insurance provided by that job. I do not fear losing my job, I do not fear being separated from my family by law or deportation, I do not fear comments made about me at school or in the workplace based on my gender, sexual orientation, religion, or family history. I know that there must be many, so very many, who do have these very real fears this morning, and extreme anxiety as they look at their future in America.

I don’t know what the world will be like in coming months and years, I don’t know how people will react to the current state of America and the world. I don’t know what’s next.

I do know that I have a choice – the same choice I have always had and will always have, each and every day: “Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need?” And I fear there will be so many more people in need of help from me.

I have never felt like this after an election, even when the candidate I voted for did not win. When it was Bush vs. Kerry or McCain vs. Obama or Obama vs. Romney, even though I had my preference, I felt that if the other guy won things still wouldn’t be so bad. I have believed that both parties believe in and want what’s best for America, even if they fundamentally disagree on what actually is best for America.

But this election I do not have that confidence. I do not feel that a majority of voters chose their candidate based on what they felt would be best for this country, but rather only on what would be best for themselves.

On November 9th I usually post about and celebrate one of the greatest days of German history, the fall of the Berlin Wall. But I am now reminded that other important events also took place on that day – Kristallnacht, for example, when anger and fear got the better of a people, spurred on by an extremely charismatic and enthusiastic speaker. I am not saying that Trump is as bad as Hitler, but the same feelings of fear and economic uncertainty and of dissatisfaction with a changing world that made Germany ripe for the rise of such a leader have played out here in our country, culminating in the election of Donald Trump.

I will accept no such hatred or violence or threats of violence from either side today, even in joking – violence is never a joke. Emotions are running high for many people today and many may say or tweet or post things rashly in the heat of that emotion that they may come to regret. But, this election is over now and there will be no more campaigning. And as I rode the ferry into work this morning and saw the overcast skies and rain over Seattle I was reminded of the end of Romeo and Juliet,

“A glooming peace this morning with it brings;

The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head:

Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things;

Some shall be pardon’d, and some punished:

For never was a story of more woe

Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”

In this glooming peace of the end of this election cycle, let us go hence to have more talk of these things. Let us sit down and listen to each other. Let us find the common ground that unites us as Americans and work to understand our differences and accept them as the true source of what makes America great.

Let us be a little kinder, let us be a little more compassionate, let us be a little better than we were, let us look forward with a perfect brightness of hope. With love of God and love for all mankind. Let us be the United States of America.

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