It’s been seven days since the election. I’ve taken time to listen to democratic friends and republican friends. I’ve taken time to listen to my family. I’ve attended an unbiased presentation on the current status of US immigration. I’ve sat through two non-partisan sermons, one the day after the election. I’ve read publications from both sides and even those not claiming a side. I’ve listened to hurt, frustration, elation, and fear. I’ve done my best to not react, but to let the results wash over me, and I’ve reached a few conclusions:
-Most importantly, this election was all about an exploitation of the extremes. I honestly do not believe that every one of my friends that voted for Trump is a racist or bigot. However, I cannot deny that he pandered toward a (hopefully) shrinking crowd of people who are scared of anyone not like themselves (women, muslims, disabled persons, immigrants, etc.) in order to incite energy and garner votes. It was smart. Fear inspires action more than anything else, and he used fear of “the other”, fear of change, fear of differences, etc. to get people to the polls. And it worked.
-Money involved in politics is just a bad idea. I fully believe the media had a vested interest in the two main candidates being controversial and confrontational. Those dynamics draw in an audience, and the bigger your audience and the longer you can draw out the election season, the more money you make. And speaking of money, according to the FEC, over a BILLION dollars was spent by the presidential candidates on their campaigns alone. There’s no reason we can complain about starving vets and children, when we just blew that much money on something for which we get a zero return.
-Lots of progress brings about lots of frustration, and we progressives have to be better at understanding the perspective of those trying to hang on to what they know. In the last couple of years, gay marriage was legalized, trans issues were brought to the forefront, and the first steps were made toward universal healthcare. There’s no doubt that further widening the realm of inclusion to more and more demographics is a good thing, but change is hard. And although people like myself benefited from some of this change, other people got scared because they saw the only way of life they had known slipping away. While I’m appreciative of my newly legalized rights and protections, I can TOTALLY understand the other side’s fear. When did we forget to show mercy and be grateful?
-Living in a small town has taught this city boy that there are TONS of people occupying small towns who are loving and accepting of everyone. A few weeks ago I was at a birthday dinner for one of Casey’s nieces. In the same room a black family was also celebrating a birthday. By the end of the evening, our family and their’s ended up singing happy birthday to each other and sharing birthday cake. It was an amazing testament to positive cross-racial interaction. I realized that night that we are better than what we are told.
You see, we as a population are more efficiently controlled and predicted when we can be categorized. The scary part for the powers that be is that our population through education really is becoming more open minded and more able to think critically. And that is terrifying to them because free thinkers can see right through the neat little categories we all get lumped in.
Don’t believe that we are a bad people. Believe in the good of everybody. That belief has the most power to change the world for the better. We are not inherently bad as humans. We learn evil. Shrug the evil and take up the mantel of Love. It’s our only saving grace
Gabriel Michael Lawrence is an openly gay Episcopalian & professional musician living in rural Southwest Georgia and is a parishioner in the Episcopal Dioceses of Georgia. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org