I am relieved that the 2016 US election is over. Many are optimistic about the outcome while many others are not. Roller-coaster emotions ranging from sheer happiness to shock, disbelief, anxiety, fear, and dread appear to be an obvious reaction to the recent election results causing the losing side to protest throughout our nation.
The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
I get that you are hurting due to the election results just as many in the nation were stunned. Many of you are overwhelmed with anxiety and fear about a candidate who implemented a tribal stance. It was and still is a 'us versus them attitude'. Rather than reaching out to all people with a hope-filled message, he used demeaning and divisive language when he spoke about women and ethnic groups. What I find surprising is how his message resonated with the rural population. Perhaps it was because they have felt forgotten for the past eight years. He talked about 'making America great again' which appealed to many and literally became a movement and it helped him win the election. However, due to his tribal stance that pitted us against each other during the campaign has now given license to some people that is okay to continue to speak and act divisively against each other when we ought to be bridging the divide in our nation. It is up to our president-elect to change his tone to one that ties all of America together again. I hope and pray that he recognizes what he must do.
A number of people on the losing side now feel fear and alienation. Reports of growing tension in schools is now on the rise as white students verbally abuse other ethnic groups. These students assume that it's okay to treat others in a demeaning manner since their candidate did. Then there is the painful realization that many residents fear that they will become further marginalized and ignored by the new leadership.
We must let go of this divisiveness. If you are on the losing side please turn to your neighbor and listen to why they feel forgotten. Share with them to continue to stay alert, fight for change, fight injustice, and choose to walk in love. For those of you on the winning side and those who do not feel any sort of threat; please turn to your neighbor and listen to why they feel so much fear. Share with them to stay alert, fight for change, fight injustice, and choose to walk in love.
Believe it or not, we are all neighbors and we are in this together as we travel into unfamiliar waters. The uncertainty that comes with this new place is frightening and inconceivable and yet, all one has to do is to look back through history to see that our ancestors traveled into unfamiliar waters as well. Still, they firmly treasured their founding documents in the midst of chaos. [When read together, the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution tell us that the people’s rights are divine in origin, sacred and unalienable, while governments are human in origin, answerable to the people and dependent entirely on their consent.] This is what we should remember; the United States of America has been through ugly times. Consider the great divide aka American Civil War. Rather than relying on human leaders, our ancestors latched onto God's guidance in the midst of their unknown territory. By doing so, their great divide eventually came to an end and the union endured.
A bit of history:
1) One could call it a 'large scale' protest following the Presidential election in 6 November 1860. After the votes were counted and reported by telegraph on the 7th or 8th of November that Abraham Lincoln had won, the state legislature of South Carolina voted on 9 November to declare Lincoln's election a hostile act and its intention to secede from the Union, hence the Confederacy and the Civil War.
2) The American Civil War was a civil war in the United States fought from 1861 to 1865. The Union faced secessionists in eleven Southern states grouped together as the Confederate States of America. The Union won the war, which remains the bloodiest in U.S. history.
It is everyone's right to peacefully assemble with freedom of speech, however, these nightly protests have gotten out of hand. Your demands might be a healthy outlet, but your efforts are being strangled by the rising vandalism. Word of arrests have risen out of a number of cities regarding people obstructing traffic, reckless conduct, trespassing, burning projectiles being thrown at officers, as well as damaged vehicles. This is NOT peaceably assembling! This is a mob participating in destructive vandalism. Those participating are involved in what's called as mob mentality. Mob mentality usually leads to reckless and destructive actions and causes a person to believe that they can behave a certain way within the group that would not have the same penalties as when he or she acted alone.
The presidency was won fair and square, so we must strive to acknowledge that this is our new reality. Our democracy and constitution cherishes and protects the peaceful transfer of power. Therefore, we owe the president-elect our respect and our receptiveness to new ideas and the chance for him to lead our nation in a proficient manner. If we disagree with his direction, any citizen can petition the Government with a grievance. We must not regress and turn into a mob with a mob mentality or our nation will not be able to endure. Abraham Lincoln once said; "A house divided against itself cannot stand." Therefore, we must preserve all that America stands for by finding a way to bridge our divide so we can begin to heal. I believe the way to do this is to let go and let God guide each of us as He guides our leaders. By letting go of our divisiveness, we are allowing the process of healing to take place. It also makes us distinctive as proud citizens of THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! If you need help letting go then turn to the one King who will not let you down, Jesus Christ.
Blessings and until next time,
Kathy Goodhew, author
I sense a need for something greater than self. So, I am led by Christ's love to be an encourager as I share about His faithfulness and grace.