There are many Democrats shocked this morning that Trump seems to have won.
Even Republicans are shocked.
But while nothing is official until electoral votes are cast on December 19th, it appears that not only has Trump won, but he also won both houses of Congress – and therefore, the Supreme Court as those seats open in the next few years.
It’s a huge win for the Republicans, giving them power in all three branches of the government, and cause for much celebration for them, while Democrats themselves must concede that Trump did what they originally wanted Bernie Sanders to do: ride the wave of the populist vote against both parties of the establishment.
Clearly, the people of America want change.
We can agree on that.
And maybe, just maybe, we need change so badly that it is going to take someone as aggressive as Donald Trump.
But that much aggression really does scare some people, a lot of people, for good and legitimate reasons, and it is good and right to be gentle with them, even protective of them.
What we cannot say is that “God is still in control” – not because it isn’t true, but because it is bad theology, and it’s a very foolish and privileged thing to say. God is not in control of our election. We are. He gave us free agency, and we are in a country with the freedom to vote, and it was us who did this. It was our votes that did this. You cannot blame it on God, smugly or otherwise.
That said, He may well use the results once we have chosen our scenario. That happens over and over again in the Old Testament especially: the people of Israel make their choices, the natural consequences come, and then God uses the people’s experience to teach them, to guide them, and even to love them while trying to raise them to spiritual adulthood. When someone comes in and conquers Israel, often because Israel wasn’t following directions, Israel suffers, but God also then sends in another conqueror later to punish the ones who hurt His people.
Deliverance is complicated work, you guys.
Politics is very temporal work.
It’s fine if you did not vote for Hillary because you didn’t trust her.
But you can’t say you voted for Trump because he was safer, not when you are comparing her dismissed criminal trials for his numerous ones still pending.
Yes, lying is wrong. But so is that kind of sexual predation.
Yes, corruption is a problem. But so is bullying, even targeting entire ethnic groups.
That’s the hard part of explaining this to my children.
We are scared for our brown daughters.
We are scared for all six children with disabilities.
We are scared for our baby from Pakistan.
We are scared for our immigrant friends who have sacrificed everything to make better lives for their families in this great country.
We are scared for our LGBT neighbors who may not go to our Church or agree with all we think or do, but who are kind to us anyway.
We are scared about the calls for retribution against the Mormons, even the calls for genocide against them for how they disrupted the vote.
Those are serious things. Real things. Not false-apocalypse things.
They are this-is-happening things. How-is-this-happening things.
Trump is the one who has rallied to the people’s cry for change, and that cry finally has everyone’s attention.
The media must now also face their own consequences, the realization of how out-of-touch they are with the “normal” American people rather than only the elite.
The rural American took this election and ran with it, no longer limited by geographical distance from all that is happening in the world now that technology has shrunk it so much.
There is also a historical pattern of countries who vote something bold and new or “first”, like the first black leader, or the first woman leader, and then backsliding in following elections. People just progress very slowly. It’s as if the people did their one good thing and so quit trying for a while.
So in some ways, we should not be surprised that after electing the first black President our country was not yet ready for a woman President.
What should surprise us is that after the historical moment of having our first black President, we just elected a President backed by the KKK.
Again, those are the pieces hard to explain to my children.
What do I say when they see Trump supporters chanting for the death of black people? And Jews? And Mormons? They see this, and they cry, and it makes it very difficult to explain to them how these rogue supporters of a rogue candidate are not the same as the man himself or the party he represents or the nation in which we live.
We try to remind them of people we know and love who have been very vocal about their support for Trump, and their reasons they have given us for doing so.
But it’s hard to tell my children that some people are saying such terrible things, and even arming themselves to follow through on it, when we have just taught them about the Holocaust and about Civil Rights and about the Mormons being chased from Ohio to Missouri to Illinois to Utah.
Know what they said when I told them Trump won the election?
We will hide David’s family in our attic, and then when they come to shoot the Mormons, David’s family can come down and eat our food.
David is our very sweet Mongolian chaplain friend who has a wife and four children all born here in this country and could be deported under Trump’s most recently proposed immigration plan.
What has happened in this ugly election year that my children would even consider this kind of thinking, much less find it necessary to commit themselves to such a plan aloud?
Some people are crying foul, not for election fraud, but for the patterns of persecution that we promised history would never repeat.
Except now it is repeating, they say.
So what we need now, as one nation, is to prove it isn’t.
We told our children the results of the election this morning. We sat at the breakfast table, as we always do, for our daily scripture study and prayer time. We shared with them that Trump will be the next President. And then Nathan said,
There will be times in your life when people don’t like you just because of what you believe. But it is more important to hold on to your testimony than it is to save your life. We may not always have the freedom to say what we want, or to worship how we want, but we must not surrender our faith. Nothing is more important than your testimony, not even your life.
The children cried when they heard Trump won.
Not because they were pro-Hillary, but because they have never seen one Trump event or ad or speech or debate that did not frighten them. They are frightened by the words he has used, and they are frightened by the way he has treated people. They are frightened.
But we are not called to a spirit of fear.
We are called to move forward in faith.
This will be a test of Trump, and whether he can work as part of a team and listen to the counsel given him by his advisors.
This will be a test of the American government, of whether checks and balances really work, even with a President who has power on his side in every branch of government.
But it is also a test of the American people, and whether we can really be the change we have called for and fought for and now proven to the world that we need.
There is so much potential for growth, and for healing, and for good things to come.
The cry for change in our nation has been heard, and we have elected someone aggressive enough to tackle the elite establishment.
So let’s do that, instead of attacking people.
And if we want change, we must start with ourselves and create change.
We can start by being gentle with those who wake up this morning not just disappointed in the election results, but afraid.
And instead of encouraging further oppression by dismissing the authentic fears of real people, embrace them and be present with them today and help them know they are not alone.
Be someone who is safe.
Be someone who proves to be a friendly neighbor.
Be someone who uses kind words instead of hate speech.
Be someone who listens to different opinions from different people with different beliefs and learns from them without silencing them or interrupting them or arguing with them.
Be someone who demonstrates that bullying is not okay, that we stand together as a nation for the good of our people.
We, as one nation, have now committed to the promise to Make America Great Again.
We are responsible for this, and we are held accountable for this.
So do it. Today. Go make America great again.
Go be great. Be great in how much you love others. Be great in your provision and protection of your family and your friends. Be great in your sensitivity to those who struggle with anything, simply because we all know how hard struggle is no matter the demon we are facing.
Be great in gratitude, great in kindness, and great in compassion.
We had a long night.
But YOU are America.
Go make it great again.