I typed “dona” into Google. Three of the four prompts were for Donald Trump. Then I added a space and it zeroed in on what I was seeking: Dona Nobis Pacem. Give us peace. Just a small juxtaposition.
Before this election many people felt disenchantment and disenfranchisement, sometimes for legitimate reasons. They expressed that through voting. Now after the election others feel fear, numbness, disappointment, dread, sadness, despair, anger. For very real reasons. I have fears too. I have worked with people who have disabilities. We have a family member diagnosed with a psychological disorder. We have a wonderfully mixed extended family, with a sister-in-law, the spouse of a niece and spouses of cousins, and their children and grandchildren, who are people of color. I worry now more than ever for these people’s safety and well-being.
These feelings are in the end not about politics, not about losing a vote. This is ultimately, I think, about who we are as people, and as a people. Are we exclusive and wall builders, or are we inclusive and bridge builders? Do we mock the other’s differences, or cherish the other’s uniqueness? Do we demonstrate contempt and derision or show kindness and mercy?
Our president-elect seems to me to be a racist, misogynist, xenophobe, narcissist and a bully. He has brought out those worst, ugliest sides of many of his supporters. This election has endorsed those attitudes and emboldened some of those who care little for others who are not like them. The real fear is that now our country will be less kind, less just, less safe for many.
And Christians who voted for this man? What?!? How in clear conscience can someone who professes to follow the God of Love and the Jesus who died for all, vote for someone who cheated on his wives, boasted of assaulting women, retweeted white supremacists, has been fined for racial discrimination, stiffed numerous small businesses and contractors, has pending suits against him, filed for bankruptcy six times, ridicules people because they’re not beautiful or have a disability or are of ancestry from another country, insulted the parents of a veteran, etc. How? How?!?!?
Yet we must assume, at least hope, that half of our country is not OK with racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexual assault, disrespect to persons with disabilities and violence toward minorities. We must hope that people voted for this man for other reasons, and that those who did will now help hold him accountable in his office and demand that he clearly renounce the ugliness that has already shown itself in only a few short days.
I cannot help by notice the incredible irony as members of the Republican Party now call for us all to unite, when it seemed their primary platform and policy for the past eight years was obstructionism and division.
With this election I fear some people will suffer — and not the rich, the white, the males — but minorities of skin color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, faith tradition, immigrants, the poor, the disabled, the children, the least among us.
Pray for wisdom and justice in Congress. Pray that the rights of all people will be upheld, that we will good stewards of our resources and the environment, and that we will be cautious and seek to make peace and not war in areas of conflict around the world.
The future has not been taken away. It will just require more time and more effort to continue to look out for the least among us, those we are called to love. Take the time to experience your emotions. Live with them a little, sift them around. But do not give in. Do not let the darkness consume you or stifle you.
For those who are Christians, we answer to a higher calling — one that allows us to participate in civic activities but that calls us back to honor and serve the God who is above all principalities and powers. God is in control and our security is there, not with a political party or particular candidate. God’s reign endures. And we are called to be protect the most vulnerable among us and to be ambassadors of the peace of Christ. That is the end to which we must be faithful. Do not serve fear, hate, injustice, violence. Serve love, always love.
It is much too easy to hate. Or to give up. Love is the hardest work. We must love boldly and courageously. Indifference is not an option. We must remain vigilant and engaged. We must support and uphold the rights of all persons, especially those in the minority. We must stand up for what is truth and what is right. Do not be afraid of those who are different, but champion their rights. We must resist when necessary. We need to be a counter-cultural community against the bigotry that feels so strong right now.
Let’s make America safe again.
Dona nobis pacem. Grant us peace.
What can one do?
Live Hope. Find Joy. Continue to follow the Light. I am always hopeful, and I will do my best to remain so now. Light a candle. Be light.
⦁ Say a prayer.
⦁ Find moments and signs of joy.
⦁ Stand up for the vulnerable.
⦁ Speak out against injustice.
⦁ Do a random act of kindness.
⦁ If you see harassment don’t do nothing. Find a positive way to be with the person. This is not easy to contemplate or do, but we must not be silent.
⦁ Donate to groups that work to support and protect marginalized people.
⦁ Be a patron of local minority businesses.
⦁ Visit an African American or Latino church, a synagogue or mosque. Better yet, all of them.
⦁ Talk, and listen, to those with whom you disagree.
⦁ Volunteer–at your local school, soup kitchen, counseling center, health care center, senior living community, youth center, women’s shelter, hospice, homeless shelter, food bank, literacy coalition, environmental group.
⦁ Listen with love to someone’s pain.
⦁ Build community with those who believe as you do.
⦁ Make space at your table for those who need hospitality.
⦁ Provide sanctuary for those in need.
⦁ Show grace to those you encounter.
Darkness cannot put out light.