I don’t normally post political things on my blog (I leave everything like that to Twitter where it belongs). And I probably won’t again for a long time. So if you’re not into this, that’s OK. Come back next week and we’ll go back to talking about my weekend adventures, 5ks, tips and tricks to being a first time homeowner and paying off student loans.
But I can’t keep silent right now. I have cried a lot this week. On Tuesday night I was in shock. I sat in front of the TV, incredulous about what was happening right in front of my eyes. I noticed the same expression on the face of the reporters. I was being texted similar sentiments by friends and family. It was a big “WHAT IS HAPPENING?!” moment, and I still am probably not fully processed through it.
Then, I got ready for bed. I was going to go to sleep when I heard that Hillary conceded. Conceded? How? So I returned to the living room and sat next to another Hillary supporter while we watched, amazed, as Pence came out, and then the Trump team came out… and we watched as history was made in the most unexpected way.
I didn’t sleep much that night. I didn’t even fall asleep until after 2:00. Then, I woke up several times in the middle of the night, simply stunned. Eventually I re-set my alarm to a later time than normal. When it went off, I opened my eyes in hope that it was all a dream, until I turned to twitter.
It wasn’t a dream. It isn’t one now. And I began to cry. I pulled myself together enough to get ready, but while I was locking the door, I started sobbing. Sobbing.
I am so sad for this country. I am a firm believer in voting. I don’t criticize anyone here for who they voted for. Voting is a privilege and it is your right to exercise your beliefs. But, as Rachael said, I am confused. I am confused about how so many people who I love dearly, and I know they love others dearly, could vote for someone who so prolifically spoke hatred, cruelty, bullying, racism, sexual assault, xenophobia and division. I cried a lot that day. But I also met with other people who felt the same way I did, which gave me hope. I have hope that we can overcome.
I have hope that we have a big God who works all things for our good. On Tuesday morning I prayed, “Lord, let your will be done.” And he did. So now I’m determined to live out his Word for the next four years. I am going to love the orphans, the widows, the foreigners, the least of these. I am going to use the gracious gifts he’s given me to spread hope and provide assistance to people who feel like they will no longer have any. I am going to chose love. I am going to give love. And I am hearing similar sentiments from those around me.
We have a new president. This isn’t the first presidential election in which I’ve voted for the non-winning candidate. But this is the first time I’ve been scared. Whether you think it’s fair or not, many other people are scared as well. So I’m making a list. My four year plan on how I’m going to show those people – the scared people – that we have hope. We have joy. We have power. We matter. They MATTER. And we will overcome.
Here’s my list. It’s just a start. It’s just what comes to mind this week. But I believe it’s important. I encourage you to make a list as well.
1. Write 50 letters of encouragement to people doing the work. The leaders I see. The women, the minorities, the LGBTQ, the poor, and yes, even the white men, who are doing the work to build up others and show them they are not less than, they are not forgotten, they will not be left behind.
2. Join a non-profit board. I keep talking about doing this. I’ve been on a few boards in the past, and I’m on one now, but it’s not a non-profit that provides services. So I’m going to find one.
3. Go back to the volunteer clinic where I used to do pro bono work. I stopped doing that over the last couple of years. I worked in public service now, and my schedule isn’t always predictable. Those were my excuses. I’m not making them now.
4. Donate money. A lot of agencies that I’m really passionate about are at risk of losing funding for programs and funding for staffing. I’m going to review my budget plans and re-allocate some of that money to at least one other charity, if not more than one.
5. Read more books and less internet. This election cycle showed me how much social media can impact my ability to function in a healthy way. I love social media (big surprise, right?) and I believe it has a lot of value. But I need to remember the world outside of the computer, and I’ve always believed reading fiction and non-fiction is the tunnel into another point of view. I think we could all benefit from viewing life from a different point of view.
6. Invest in women lawyers. I can’t tell you how hard it is to be a female attorney sometimes. As recently as two weeks ago I was hit on by an opposing counsel. I’ve had appointed clients scream at me that I can’t represent them because I’m a woman. And those aren’t two of the worse examples. It hasn’t gotten better over the last six years. I’m tired of silently dealing with it. I’m going to start talking about it, and I’m going to start investing in other women lawyers instead of just sitting in my office fuming on my own. I’m sure they’re fuming too, and I hate that.
7. Pray for the President, Vice-President and their families. Christians are called to pray for rulers and kings. We aren’t called to pray for just the ones we like. We are called to pray for all of them. This is one of the harder ones for me to swallow, so for now I’m praying for the strength to be able to do this by January.
8. Keep my eyes open for where I’m needed. These are my prior shortcomings that I see now can make a big difference in the lives of others. But as the years go by, the needs could change. This situation could be less dire or (God forbid) more dire than I fear it will be. The best defense is a good offense, right? So I’m going to keep an open mind to how I can truly help when a need arises.
9. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. I cannot even begin to wrap my head around some of the upcoming threats to the environment based on his plans. Now, more than ever, our daily actions and habits are crucial to protecting this amazing planet that God created.
10. Choose Love. I’m choosing love. This might mean I don’t read the comments. It might mean I look past some terrible things people have said during the election. But love always wins, and I’m choosing love.
I can’t do this all at once and I’m not going to try because I don’t want to burn out. But this is my four year plan. If you have different feelings on this election than I do, I am still so happy you are here. I love this community at WMSB, and I refuse to let it be torn apart. Similarly, I love my friends, family and community. Hate will not win. Bigotry will not win. Blatant racism, sexism, violence and xenophobia will not win.