Now it’s been 2 weeks since USA election 2016 rocked our world. If you’re like me, you’re a bit inundated with the amount of articles and social media pieces centered on it. I’ve read reflections and ideas from all different perspectives and frankly, I am exhausted but can’t seem to not-read them. I can’t seem to check out. I can’t seem to totally unplug.
I also think we’re not supposed to.
In fact, that is what a lot of people are banking on–that we will check out. That we will wear out. That we will become desensitized to the madness that’s happening before our eyes and accept it blindly. That we will join the bandwagon of “let’s just wait and see” and keep carrying on in our safe, protected worlds.
That we will go back to sleep.
But it’s too late for that.
I truly believe that there’s no turning back, no hiding our heads in the sand; something seismic just happened and even though there are all kinds of theories on which direction this all will all go, we can bank on this–something deeply changed.
Something changed because something’s been changing.
This election just tipped it more clearly.
We all know Christianity has been experiencing a radical faith shift for many years now, but 81% of white evangelical voters casting theirs for Donald Trump sent it on a much more rapid Unraveling.
We all know the racial divide and the realities of refugees and immigrants in this country has been growing in intensity, and this election intensified it in ways that are ugly, insidious, terrifying.
We all know that other countries are experiencing similar threads of nationalism and extremism and have recently voted or are voting for similar types of candidates and policies that match our most recent.
The world is changing.
The church is changing.
Our world is changing.
We are about to enter into a completely new reality that we’re not quite prepared for, in my opinion. In fact, I know I’m not.
But even though these kinds of moments bring out the worst in many, I know the same is true–it brings out the best in many, too.
My hope is that the best in people will prevail over time. I love what I read this morning from Dr. Cornel West:
“For us in these times, to even have hope is too abstract, too detached, too spectatorial. Instead we must be a hope, a participant and a force for good as we face this catastrophe.”
“Instead we must be a hope, a participant and a force for good as we face this catastrophe.”
As we enter this new season, here’s the reminder I have for myself, for all of us who are now even more deeply on the underside of power–we will have to prepare for the long haul.
This is going to be a long, bumpy ride.
And we have got to be prepared to last.
I am glad that so many are protesting, resisting, writing letters, organizing, doing so many amazing things to galvanize us in these first days. It is a true gift, and the passion is contagious. I am deeply moved by the sheer number of people resisting, standing firmly against friends and family members despite the costs, stepping up in ways that are uncomfortable.
It’s beautiful to see, and it gives me so much hope.
But I just want to keep reminding myself–and all of us–that we need to understand we will have to strap in for the long haul.
This is a marathon, not a sprint.
Plus, we cannot win it with their weapons.
We will not be able to go up against this kind of power and defeat it with the same kinds of strategies. Even if Hillary Clinton had won, we’d be in the same boat with a little different twist because this force of power and strength and might and pretty-much-everything-that-feels-against-the-Kingdom-of-God-that-Jesus-talks-about is far beyond partisan politics.
It’s embedded into us, our systems, the ways-the-world-and-often-the-church works.
And as much as I believe in using our voices and hands and feet to vote for more just legislation and stand against unjust laws (and will keep doing whatever I can in the future as well), that alone won’t get us to a new place.
Power vs. power won’t work on this one.
We will lose.
But subversive-wild-unleashed-people-mobilized-and-working-underground-in-all-kinds-of-beautiful-and-creative-and-strong ways, now that’s a different story.
That’s what I’m seeing.
What I believe will keep happening.
What I believe is our best hope.
That really is the path of Jesus. It is what Christ-followers have always been up against but over time we’ve become so domesticated we forgot it.
Well, it’s time to remember.
And for us to band together in wild, subversive ways with not only each other but with others across faiths, experiences, and a whole host of other divides to infuse this next chapter of our young nation’s story with hope, with purpose, with passion, with unity, with advocacy for our friends and brothers and sisters on the margins.
We need each other more than ever.
Part of that isn’t only listening to the margins who are our best teachers but to follow their lead as well.
But again, this is going to be a long haul.
We will need to take good care of ourselves.
We will need to take good care of each other, especially the many folks who have already been on the front lines for a long time and are starting tired.
We will need to rest when we are weary, so that we will have strength to last far more than weeks or months.
We will need to remind each other what is at stake when we start to waver or be lulled back to sleep.
We will need to pray and sing and make art and use our voices and get our hands dirty and try things we’ve never tried before and give in ways we haven’t given before.
We will need to shine light into the darkness when the despair starts to set in.
We will need to find ways to last because we’ve got a long road ahead.
My heart is with you all from Colorado this USA Thanksgiving week. I’m still a bit stunned, foggy, and juggling a lot with The Refuge and my kids coming home this week, but you can count on one thing for sure–I will be alongside all of you for the long haul.
Love and hope, kathy
ps: Last week we recorded a special post-election episode of Faith Circus if you want to listen in on some raw unedited thoughts–Post Election Debrief: What Happened?!?. I really do love the little community over at Faith Circus-ing, a place to process the podcasts a little more together.
Also, I had a post up on Election Day at She Loves Magazine called I Believe in You. Right now, that’s something tangible each of us can do this week–remind someone you know who is influencing change, who is giving you hope and inspiring you right now, who needs a reminder that their work matters because they might be extra weary. Tell them thank you and remind them: “I believe in you.”
Lastly, on my personal and public Facebook pages, for the upcoming months I am going to be sharing stories of friends who are healing the world in all kinds of different small & big ways. The hashtag is #meetmyfriend and #healtheworld. Nothing fancy, just some reminders that there are all kinds of people from all sides of this story who are part of the force for good. Here’s the first one.