Today I’m breaking a self-imposed eight year moratorium on political talk on this blog. Not because I can sway or convince anyone (the election’s over, after all) because I want to record how I feel, how my family feels, at this point in history.
Tomorrow I’ll search for the silver lining, but today I’m grieving.
Our country has chosen bigotry, misogyny, mocking the disabled, persecuting religious groups and voted for acceptance of crude language and behavior, a sexual predator, a grown man who bullies and throw temper tantrums, spews venom and threatens lawsuits for the smallest offense. I shudder to think of him as a role model for our children.
And I’m a Republican.
I was among those eight years ago and again four years ago, who felt like Obama was a poor choice for our country. Now, my concerns seem laughable. While I still don’t regard President Obama as a great president, I do regard him as a good man, an excellent husband and father, a man with many qualities I’d love to emulate.
Even yesterday morning, I had so much hope for this election. Utah and Mormons received very flattering press these past months. There were various New York Times articles expounding on Why Mormons Don’t Like Trump, the NPR release on 4 Reasons Mormons Are More Skeptical Of Trump Than Other Religious Conservatives, Think Progress offered Mormons Detest Donald Trump and for lovely reasons such as: we value morals, we’re smart, we welcome immigrants and abhor religious persecution.
My very favorite article came from Bloomberg Press by Noah Feldman: Utah Is The Political Conscience of the Nation. For me, his article forms a list of proud Mormon moments in this election cycle.
- The Church’s statement on religious freedom after Trump’s anti-Muslim remarks.
- Mitt Romney’s press conference begging Republicans to choose a better nominee.
- A poll which gave Evan McMullin, a third-party candidate, the lead in Utah.
- The Deseret News, our local Mormon owned newspaper, calling for Trump to resign his presidency. “The belief that the party and the platform matter more than the character of the candidate ignores the wisdom of the ages that, ‘when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.’ (Proverbs 29:2).”
And Feldman’s comments, “You don’t have to agree with the sentiment to be impressed by it. There’s a word for this moral non-hypocrisy: It’s called sincerity. And it deserves to be acknowledged.”
I especially loved Feldman’s conclusion, “Just the reality of widespread disgust at Trump should make us realize that somewhere in this land, there are people who actually act on what they believe. For Trump to lose Utah would be a tiny sliver of moral redemption for the rest of us.”
Ah, we could have done it. We could have made history. For the first time since 1964 we could have voted for a Democrat or, even better, Evan McMullin as a third-party candidate. But we didn’t. Like so much of the country we voted righty down party lines. At least Salt Lake County didn’t vote for Trump. I can be proud of my own county.
I’m no fan of Hillary, but she doesn’t exhibit the volatility, the hate, the meanness of Trump. I felt like she would gather good people around her and be especially careful of staying within the law (since she’s had so many legal troubles).
Like so many others, I could not have guessed a year ago I would consider Hillary the better option. I feel so much like Hamilton endorsing Jefferson. If you’ve read Ron Chernow’s stunning biography (and you need to read it right now), you absolutely can’t imagine Hamilton supporting Thomas Jefferson. They HATED each other; Jefferson was awful to our darling Alexander. But A. Ham found himself in the same position I did and Lin-Manuel provided the perfect lyrics:
I have never agreed with Hillary once,
We have fought on like seventy-five diff’rent fronts
But when all is said and all is done
Hillary has beliefs. Trump has none.
One of my friends told me her children had never heard racial slurs or comments about the color of their skin until this year, “And now, they hear insults every day. I’m afraid all the name-calling in this election made people feel like it’s OK to be cruel.” Her children’s experience isn’t unique. All across the U.S. barbs and jibes are being used as verbal weapons.
As followers of Christ we can commit today to speak kindly. We can commit to reach out with compassion to every person we meet no matter how different they may be from ourselves. We can commit to NEVER abusing someone because of race, their religion, their appearance, abilities or sexual orientation.
I’m extremely proud of my family’s dismay over Trump’s behavior. They are passionate about kindness and respect and religious freedom. Last night, when we were watching the results come in, we exchanged dozens of texts ranging from teary to dark humor (mostly Putin jokes). I’m so grateful we’re united and can speak openly with each other.
We’ll be OK. We’re white and privileged. But I worry about families who will be separated, kids bullied for the color of their skin, Muslim families shunned by their neighbors. I pray we can reject cruel words and stereotypes, set an example of goodness and compassion and truly see each person as a child of God.
My kids reaction echoed much of what I’m hearing today– we don’t pull back. We need to engage in the work of inclusion and education. Ben called the Salt Lake Refugee Center to volunteer his services, Xander is offering free tutoring at the high school. We can all find a way to reach out.
In Oct. 2001 General Conference, just weeks after 9-11, while bombs were dropping over Afghanistan, Pres. Hinckley admonished,
And as we go forward, may we bless humanity with an outreach to all, lifting those who are downtrodden and oppressed, feeding and clothing the hungry and the needy, extending love and neighborliness to those about us who may not be part of this Church. The Lord has shown us the way. He has given us His word, His counsel, His guidance, yea, His commandments. We have done well. We have much to be grateful for and much to be proud of. But we can do better, so much better.
We can do better, so much better.