This morning at around 3:30 A.M. one of the most controversial elections of recent history ended with one of the most controversial candidates becoming the next President of the United States. Emotions are always high after an election but this year seems to bring new extremes. Easy evidence of these extremes can be seen on almost anyones Facebook feeds across the country. If you’re experiencing one of these extremes there are a few things that I would like to offer to you in the coming days as you process what it means for Trump to have won the election.
Those Who are Hurting:
If you’re hurting, share that hurt. Find someone to process through the results of the election and what you believe them to mean for you. Your feelings are valid expressions of your experiences. You should not be dismissed as the half of the population that will not be heard. Have a discussion with those who are also suffering and understand that there are millions of people who feel as though last night does not represent them. You can take time to be devastated and understand your emotions of hurt and anger at the outcome of the election.
As a white, christian, conservative-leaning male there are few freedoms that have ever really been in jeopardy for me. I have not experienced the fear, pain, and hurt that most of you are feeling but I can listen and seek to understand. I can mourn with you as you mourn. I can hear your despair and listen without offering advice or try to offer hope unless you are ready to hear my hope. I can seek to be a friend in a community that you feel has abandoned you.
Those Who are Celebrating:
Your candidate won and after a long and hard campaign season you can feel happy about that victory; however, remain humble in that victory. Understand that as your candidate stands in triumph there are millions of people who had a candidate that did not win.
Seek to understand why it is that millions of people are incredibly devastated by the fact that their candidate lost. What makes the loss of hope so extreme in the cases of most of those who voted for Hillary? If you have been on Facebook, Twitter, or even a news outlet today you can see that people are not just upset over losing an election but are terrified at what this means for their futures.
Listen to those that are hurting. Allow them to share their fears with you. Don’t listen with a rebuttal prepared but listen to hear and understand them. Allow them to have a safe place to feel like someone who previously would not hear them is willing to listen. Allow them to see that you are willing to love them regardless of their race, ethnicity, social status, lifestyle choices, or any other category that might be divisive.
If you are a Christian do not immediately offer them the statement, “God is in control.” While I firmly believe that God is sovereign and in complete control that statement does not offer them comfort that I believe Christ would offer them in their current despair. God has always been in control but in that control has allowed some incredibly dark moments in history; therefore, God’s control does not mean that people will not hurt. Right now people are hurting. Show them love not only in word but in deed. Listen, seek to understand not respond, and love them through your actions.
Have a conversation and not a shouting match. As a nation we are in a place that is broken but not a place that cannot be repaired. We have to at this point reach across the aisle more now than ever. We have to seek to understand one another so that we can work to a solution that will lead to the best outcome for all people and not just those that agree with us.