I was devastated on Wednesday by the election turnout. When I came home from work I curled up in bed with the lights out. I yelled at Jeff because he wasn’t angry enough. It was painful to me that he didn’t seem to be hurting like I was.
For hours that night I let the darkness shrivel me up and push him away. I refused to give him our customary good night kiss. That hurt him, and it made me feel good that I hurt him.
At some point that night, in the dark, I realized this was not a path I wanted to go down.
[pullquote class=”left”]Terrorists win if we are terrified to live our lives. Hatred wins if we hate the people who share our lives.[/pullquote]I love many people who disagree with me. A point of pride, one I brag about, is that Jeff and I can love each other while disagreeing on most things. But what can unite us when we disagree on something so fundamental? If I question his conscience, are we even compatible anymore?
Terrorists win if we are terrified to live our lives. Hatred wins if we hate the people who share our lives. I can’t love only part of Jeff, or cherry-pick what parts of him I think are ok to love. And I can’t do that to them either.
I’m not speaking hypothetically, or generically. These are actual people, family, friends, who depend on me and who love me. How can I let them down by blaming them for a situation I already refused to own? I let Trump get elected, this is ultimately on me. Am I speaking figuratively or collectively? Probably not as much as I’d like to think.
Let’s talk protests. Jeff offered to go with me. I ultimately decided against protesting … for now.
[pullquote class=”left”]By protesting an outcome we recognize as fair, we are weakening the impact of protests to come.[/pullquote]Why not protest? What is there to protest right now? If Hillary Clinton had been elected, there would be no basis for protesting, so why is there one now? I want to protest injustice in the system, not outcomes. We should not protest the rules because our team lost by them, and no one should protest the mere fact of Trump being president. By protesting an outcome we recognize as fair, we are weakening the impact of protests to come.
Ultimately, Jeff and I care about the same things. We disagree on how to get there, but we are fundamentally united in our agreement on principles of behavior, government and ethics.
Not everyone who supported Donald Trump agreed with him on principle. Some supported him because they considered Hillary Clinton to be a worse threat to the United States, or because they considered Trump’s economic policies to be beneficial (whatever those might be). For those people, the above statement applies, because the underlying principles of their decision were aligned with my own.
For the others who did agree with Trump’s principles, as far as I am concerned, it comes back to the Christian principle of love thy neighbor as thyself. This is purely because my personal spirituality includes having faith in that principle. I’ve looked down the other path, and it’s not something I would want for myself or anyone else I care about.
In the meantime, regroup, reorganize, blog, let your voice be heard. Save your strength, because the times are coming when we will have injustices to protest, and targeted lives to defend. Let them come.