I, like many others, am in a state of shock. As Tuesday night turned into Wednesday morning, I stared in awe as the results of the 2016 presidential election rolled across the television screen. “This can’t be happening,” I thought. “This is insane,” I exclaimed to friends and anyone who would listen as state after state turned red in favor of Donald J. Trump. The outcome that I outwardly regarded as completely implausible, yet inwardly feared, had come true.
Is this truly what our country represents? I have struggled to find the words to express my thoughts, and even now, I feel as if nothing I say is adequate. Honestly, in moments like this, it is difficult to remain dignified. I want to scream. I want to weep. Not for Hillary or for Trump but for what this moment means for our future.
History will reflect that in 2016, Americans chose to elect a man who has more flaws than we have space to list and not one ounce of prior political experience. A man who has gained the favor of our enemies and one of our nation’s most dangerous homegrown terrorist organizations. A man who has failed to express any semblance of a plan to lead our country.
Before the election was called, one news commentator noted that Trump Tower had been surrounded by New York Sanitation Department dump trucks, filled with sand to create an “impenetrable barrier,” in anticipation of Election Day violence. I couldn’t help but wonder what can be done now to protect people of color, women, children, immigrants, the differently abled, the LGBTQ community and anyone else who has been victim to Trump’s vitriolic tirades. Now that the election is over, I fear that our president-elect’s acolytes will take the opinions of their foul-mouthed leader to a higher level.
In another segment, a reporter doing a live stand-up from a bar somewhere in Michigan asked a woman who supported Trump to explain her reasoning. She gave all of the run-of-the-mill answers about taking the country back and making us great again. Her face, glowing and bright with cheer, was quite stunning when compared to the solemnness of those around me. On the screen, below the live shot, was a ticker that revealed the Dow Jones futures had dropped 700 points.
I found it incredible that one could find any ounce of joy in that moment.
As a Christian, I believe in a sovereign God who is all-knowing and all-powerful, but I have questions. How do I reconcile the fact that scripture says this is the day that the Lord hath made with the belief that the reality we’re faced with today is one birthed from hate and fear?
I know that those of us who believe in true equity and creating a world that is inclusive and forward-thinking have to keep fighting the good fight, but what do we do when we don’t feel like doing much of anything? What do you do when your only solace is found in the camaraderie of those just as distraught as you are?
Despite the disappointment of Tuesday night, on Wednesday morning, I still woke up. Tired and confused. Like any other day, the sun rose and people all over the world started their day. Children went off to school, employees reported to their posts and, although there was no literal fire burning outside my window, I felt the flames of change licking at our heels.
Where do we go from here? I have no clue, and I do not think an answer will reveal itself anytime soon.