My Election Experience
In my last blog post, I wrote about feeling like an outsider, especially within the Mormon culture:
"God doesn't ask us to be like the person next to us. He asks us to turn to Him, to love Him, to choose Him, and work as hard as we can to return to Him. In this process, we discover our true selves, our true identities as Children of God."
I didn't realize how desperately I would need those words until after the results of the presidential election last week.
As Husband and I watched the election results roll in last Tuesday, I cried. I eventually fell asleep on the couch around 11 p.m. and woke up to Donald Trump giving his victory speech. I didn't go back to sleep until around 3 a.m. after more crying. Later that morning, I watched Hillary Clinton's concession speech, and, while holding my daughter, I cried. I'm not the type of person to shy away from tears, but this marked the first time I have ever cried about the results of an election, and the most I have cried in a very, very long time. I think the last time I cried this much, I was a few weeks postpartum and my hormones were removing the little sanity I had left.
To sum up the reason for the tears: Donald Trump is a sexist misogynist. Evidence of this claim abounds (re: calling women pigs, commenting on women's appearance, saying women who are sexually harassed at work should leave their jobs in order to get away from the offender). However, it didn't hurt me that he won the election. What I was truly unable to grasp was that so many people I love and respect decided that sexism (and racism and Islamophobia and homophobia) aren't deal-breakers. Sure, my family and friends may not do explicitly sexist (or racist, Islamophobic, homophobic) things, but the message that was received was that overt sexism and misogyny are not enough cause to refuse to vote for Donald Trump. The message was sent they don't think sexism is real enough to take a stand against it. The message was sent that when I'm sexually harassed at work again (Because of course I've already been sexually harassed. I'm a woman, and it comes with the territory BECAUSE SEXISM IS ALIVE AND WELL, PEOPLE.), their support won't be there.
Hasan Minhaj from The Daily Show summed up my feelings up perfectly:
This realization hurt. It still hurts. I'm still trying to make sense of what this means. And because of that I have no idea what to write next.
Do I talk about how I'm trying to be a better listener, that is listening without the intention of trying to change minds?
Do I talk about how I am dreading going to my conservative church on Sunday? About how my faith is being tested? About how I'm wondering if my beliefs are strong enough that I can continue to surround myself with people I feel so politically (and as such, so intrinsically) dissimilar?
Do I talk about how I've been daydreaming about moving far, far away from the red state I call home?
Do I talk about how I was secretly thankful my parent's canceled this past weekend's Sunday dinner (my dad was sick), so that I didn't have to talk about politics with my Trump-supporting parents?
Do I talk about how I am torn between giving Donald Trump a chance and not letting him get away with all of the horrible things he's said?
Basically, I'm confused, and I don't know where to go from here. But here's what I know:
- It's OK that I'm not like the person next to me, and it's OK that they're not like me.
- God doesn't ask us to compare ourselves to the person next to us. He asks us to look inwardly, to look at our own hearts, to make ourselves as Christlike as we are capable.
- We, myself included, need to work on listening, and not just listening, but listening compassionately. Listen without trying to change minds. Listen without judgement. Just listen.
And with that, my grieving process is over. Time to continue to kick butt, lean in, and take over the world.
Peace and love, y'all.
What do you think? How have the results of the election impacted you? Excited? Hopeful? Scared? Nervous? Somewhere in between? I'd love to hear more.