John Pavlovitz wrote an article that a lot of you are going to hate and the rest of you are going to love as much as I did. That's because half of you are pretty content with the current political state of our country, while the other half is still mourning the results of November 8th.
I am not mourning, nor am I scared. I don't want to, at the end of four years, say "I told you so, he was as awful and evil as we predicted". I don't want to be right about any of the fears and doubts that are circulating right now.
I cannot spend the next four years with a depressive outlook for our country. I have a tendency to see the worst in America already (don't hate me for that - when you live and study abroad for half of your life, you don't have the same sense of patriotism that those of you who have always lived in the USA might have). But I don't want to do that anymore, especially now. Especially when I feel that I might have every reason to.
I want to believe the best in people, and I want to believe that the people have the power and ability to change things. That we can make our society better, especially when we fear that our president will not. It would not be fair to place that entire responsibility on him anyways.
But I also want to say this: I did not consent to this either. I do no support this. At the same time, I don't believe that the groups of individuals shouting "Fuck Trump" and "Not my president" are the effective response to this either. I think there's a level of respect that our leaders, and all individuals deserve, regardless of whether or not I support them.
That's the whole point.
Respect is different than support. Respect is different than condoning bad behaviour. Respect does not mean we fully believe in the same things someone else might.
Respect says you are a human being, I am a human being, and we are both children of God. You are worthy and deserving of my respect, whether or not you show me any in return, not because of who you are or what you do, but because of who created you. He is the same God who created me. I don't get to choose which of His children are more worth loving than others.
I shared John's article with my favourite quote in the post:
"Let it be remembered that my faith would not allow me to fall in line behind this man while so many professed religious people did; that I saw nothing resembling Jesus in him..."
And I wondered, how would the people who I love, who voted for/support/might have voted for/semi support our president react to that statement? What corners am I putting them into by taking John's words to describe my current outlook? That is the question that pushed me to put into words what today means for me, what November 8th meant for me, and how our relationships don't need to break down if there are differences.
My faith would not allow me to support him. My interpretation and convictions about who Jesus is and what He calls me to would not allow me to support him. But I want to make it very clear: this does not mean your faith that supported your vote for him was wrong. I might disagree, but it's not up to me to tell you how to follow Jesus. It's not up to me to decide that my way of doing things is better than yours.
The place we find ourselves now cannot be a place of hatred, fear, or sadness. It cannot be a place of who was right, who won, and who gets to say "I told you so" in four years. It must be a place of respect, a place of love. Because only from there do we have any hope of moving forward.