You’ll have to forgive me. My thoughts are jumbled and all over the place this morning as I wake up to the reality of this. But the next time someone asks me how can I write horror, my answer’s going to be “because I’m black and live in a land where people just voted for Donald Trump to be president.”
The signs were there from the jump: even when I prepared to go vote, I packed my driver’s license, passport, birth certificate, and voter’s registration card in case my right to vote got challenged. Once I got home, thankfully without incident, it struck me that this is the climate that I live in.
Donald Trump’s rhetoric emboldened people’s racism, which stripped away the polite veneer. It was a reminder that the promise of President Obama remains unfulfilled, that we aren’t as “post-racial” as we imagined, and that with the anger, fear, and frustration behind this whitelash, we have a lot of work ahead of us.
I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about moving to another country, which, speaking as someone who has dual citizenship, that’s not so easy to do. (Dual citizen also means I’m doubly stuck since my country of residence just made Donald Trump president and my country of origin just voted for Brexit.) For those who want to tell me that my true citizenship is in heaven, I’ll just direct you to my election night tweet:
“Watching so many of my fellow Christians so fervently support Trump has really made me question my faith.”
Seriously, if you supported a literal campaign of hate and fear of “the other”, you forfeit your right to talk to me or anyone else about the love of Christ.
Those who clung to “but the Supreme Court…” and other single issue voters basically sent the signal that African-Americans, Latinos, women, the LGBT community, Muslims, and poor lives don’t matter. Your support said that you’d be tolerant of racists and sexists. Oddly enough, people are underwhelmed by “I know I voted for a man whose campaign was fueled by racism/xenophobia/misogyny and buoyed by fear/hate, but God is sovereign” sentiments. Alone in the voting booth, your true allegiance comes out. You’d be better off admitting that your true gospel message of Republicanism, capitalism, and self-interest. So spare me your brand of American Christianity.
And you know what? I’m not blaming: those who voted third party, their (write-in) conscience, or those who saw our choices and said “Screw this, I’m not voting.” Yes, they could have stopped his election, but right now I’m more concerned about the 58M+ people who voted FOR him. When I think about what America essentially told me, all I can here in my head is Ice Cube’s voice from AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted when he said “Here’s what they think about you” and quoted the race rant from Do the Right Thing.
For the record, no I’m not moving. Frankly, I don’t have any illusions that there are magical places where people are much better. Besides, my parents survived the lead up to Civil Right and my grandparents Jim Crow and segregation. Fighting for freedom and a better life is what we’ve always done. But now comes the tough part.
I haven’t given up on my faith. I’m not going to pretend that I have much of anything figured out, but the way I see it, if we are to be serious about our faith, we must be about:
1) the business of forgiveness. Stop with the hate. At some point, we have to build bridges and figure out what it means to live in peace with one another. Despite how much I want to snip out the “love your enemies” part of the gospel message, we’re called to be such agents of change. We also have to challenge each other to do better.
2) the business of healing. I love what my friend Danielle Steele wrote on her Facebook page: “I will hold space for you, also, and I will trust you, too, understand that America must work for everyone, not just the privileged, not just the white people, but everyone. Your change can’t come at the expense of other people’s rights. I will hold you accountable if you support policies that harm minorities, immigrants, or people of other religions. But I will also hold space for you and your concerns.”
3) the business of subversion. There’s the world we live in and the world that ought to be. I believe we’re called to create the world we wish to see, to do God’s work of reconciliation and redemption. I believe this means we have to confront injustice whenever we see it, defend the disenfranchised (even at a sacrifice of our self-interests), and love one another (because that’s rather the whole point of our faith).
And I can go back to writing. My pen is my sword and I intend to fight.