Rough Week, Yeah?

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I started several blog posts in response to Trump’s election. They were very angry, very emotional, and very aware of how little those posts would make a difference in the whole scheme of things. One was addressed to Trump supporters, trying to say in too many words what Libby O’Neille (@LibbyON) summed up in a tweet:

Current thought: the struggle to keep doors open with people who don’t understand that this is not about politics. It’s about human dignity.

I am unable to put things into words right now, into words that sound reasonable and gracious, and not just more angry political babble.

All I’m going to say is this: I didn’t cry about this election until Thursday, where, I am embarrassed to say, I sobbed on two separate occasions so loudly and so long that I’m sure the neighbors would have unanimously voted to kick out the occupants in apartment No. 14.

Mostly, I cried about apathy. More than anything else in the world, I hate apathy — the thing that mocks others’ pain as whiny liberal millennial issues, that responds to sorrow and reason alike with rolled eyes, that demands sufferers to get a grip and explain every single detail of their pain in “rational” terms before it will even consider listening, that says “yeah, but” when someone shares the deepest, tenderest part of her heart.

I cried that my tears didn’t matter. They weren’t doing anyone good. They wouldn’t change anyone’s minds. In fact, my pain seemed dangerous to the causes I cared about — another example of a liberal, millennial, SJW crybaby throwing a tantrum. Another reason for people to roll their eyes and say, “Get over yourself.” Another reason for people to ignore the real sorrows of the marginalized, because mine seem so trivial.

I cried about crying, about feeling things, about not being able to put what I feel into respectable words that’ll grab people’s attention and make them listen, about knowing people still wouldn’t listen no matter how perfect my words were, anyway.

I cried about all the stupid, painful talking past each other I engaged in on social media and in real life with people I loved. I cried alongside my husband at 2 AM, after a particularly heated argument that was about so much more than Trump, about how bleepin’ difficult it is to communicate.

I cried about how people’s minds aren’t changed by words or reason or passion, but by the slow, painful process of living, saying sorry, and standing in others’ shoes; how most people will not choose that process; and how there’s nothing I can do about that.

I cried about the struggle it is to attempt that process — to stay tender, gracious, and open-minded to those I viscerally disagree with, to apologize to others when they have just as much or more to apologize for to me, to remember that this sensitivity is good and needed and helpful and not a sign that I’m going crazy.

I cried about how much hope, courage, and kindness this hopeless, unkind world requires; how little of it I possess; and how tired I am of trying to possess it.

I suspect some of my readers might have had a night like this. I know people think your pain is crazy, but I, at least, don’t agree. I am honored to be seen as a SJW crybaby with you.

P.S. Phil Vischer and Stephanie Binion said what I didn’t have the words to say here and here.

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22 thoughts on “Rough Week, Yeah?

  1. Adele Villemez

    Oh, you have the words. This is beautiful and moving and so much more gentle and compassionate than I could hope to be. I know it feels like your words don’t matter, but they do. They matter in the tiny little ways that you don’t see that start ripples that eventually result in enormous waves of change.
    Here is a little tiny thing that I want you to know even though it is probably an example of a ripple that will fade and go nowhere. I reacted to the election with anger. My tears were tears of rage. Even this morning I was still getting angry and lashing out, even at those I love. I saw the email that you had a new post and I actually waited before opening it because I wasn’t in the mood to read an ezer post. I didn’t know what it would say but I figured I would instinctually reject it. Later I read your post and I actually felt a calming of the anger. I felt inspired to try to find the more gentle, compassionate parts of myself that I usually keep buried. I’ll try not to let that feeling die but hold onto it and bring it out the next time I encounter someone I might otherwise treat with harshness and hostility.

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  2. Justine

    I am Canadian, but I am not happy about Trump getting elected either. I mean, I agree with a lot of his policies, but I don’t think there’s any way having the right policies makes up for what he’s said about women. It’s just not ok to have a guy who has bragged about sexual misconduct leading a country!
    Honestly I don’t think Clinton would have been a great choice either. I get that a lot of people voted for the lesser of two evils, but seriously America, why did two of the worst people win the nominations?

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  3. Bethany

    I’ve been checking back to see when you would write about Tuesday night. :) As always I find your writing thoughtful and moving.
    I really resonate with what you said about feeling like your emotion undermines how people see your opinions. Particularly growing up I really struggled with feeling like I was weak and immature if I cried when I was arguing. I was so angry that I wasn’t ‘stronger’. And yes, some people absolutely view it that way. I do remember a great comment somebody made in the now-defunct website The Toast (oh, how I loved The Toast). It was about the difficulty of arguing with someone who thinks that the person who remains the calmest wins the argument. I thought that summed it up pretty well. If you put it like that it seems ridiculous that someone would think emotion or lack thereof really strengthens or weakens an argument.

    I recently saw a facebook argument in which a guy said, while demanding citations for the claim that birth control has medical uses beyond preventing conception, that he would prefer it if everyone just argued things free of emotion.

    Seems to me that arguing without emotion is a luxury reserved for those who are not personally harmed by something. Like men in Christian patriarchy having a passionless discussion about whether women are naturally weaker–you can afford to debate this without emotion because it isn’t your humanity on the line. In the same way a lot of the people I hear saying ‘we need to move on’ or ‘it will be okay’ are people who don’t have reason to be afraid for how a Trump presidency will affect them.
    Thank you for caring. Yes, it was a rough week. I wasn’t surprised by the evangelical apathy toward Trump’s xenophobic views–after the stories I have heard of church congregations minimizing and excusing abuse, I was already pretty disillusioned. But my newsfeeds are full of good folks like Elizabeth Esther and other more liberal Christians who are truly saddened and struggling to comprehend how 81 percent of evangelicals were able to just get past Trump’s words and actions. It is really painful and I don’t envy people who are having to work out how they can reconcile American Christianity with social justice. I really respect your writing as always.

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  4. H

    I got the feeling this morning in church that my pastor (one of those who didn’t support Trump) was getting on to anyone in his congregation who did vote for Trump. I also got the feeling that if Hillary had won, then he wouldn’t be getting on to any of her supporters.
    Yet, it’s Hillary who supports partial birth abortion *and* late term abortions. She is the one who can’t be trusted with classified documents (she’s either too stupid to know which ones were classified, or she’s downright treacherous; either way, she can’t be trusted).
    It may seem strange that we can support Trump, and trust me, it was a struggle for me after what he’d said about women. No, I can’t dismiss it as ‘locker room talk’ because there should be no such thing, and it should be condemned.
    But, beyond striking back at people who attacked him, he really hasn’t said much that could be construed as hateful. I would say that most people (myself included) who support him are banking on his being sincere and truthful in his promises to nominate judges to the Supreme Court who are not only pro-life, but who uphold the constitution; his promise to defend the Second Amendment; his promise to secure the border (letting illegals flood in is not a good policy for any country, especially one where people are already struggling to find jobs).

    I’m not against emotionalism. But if you think that Trump supporters are emotionless, then you’re wrong. I nearly cried when he started winning (I would have cheered when he actually won, but by that point, at 3 in the morning, I was just too tired).
    Trump won because he touched a chord in the hearts of people tired of the same old political stunts that politicians pull every four years. He was tireless at his rallies, he spoke with sincerity, he talked about problems in our country that no one else was willing to talk about.
    Do I think he’ll save our country? No, but I think he’ll pull us back from the brink for a little while at least.

    I’m sure not all people who are upset over Trump’s victory are just crybabies who need to get over themselves. But many of them are responding with violence and hatred, and many of them support abortion. It’s hard for me to muster up much sympathy for their feelings when, after Obama was elected (twice) conservatives didn’t go around beating people up, or holding up signs that said “Rape Michelle”.

    For me, the day Trump won was a beautiful day, and as long as Trump keeps his promises to the best of his ability, I’ll be proud to tell my children and grandchildren that I voted for him.

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  5. Laura Jinkins

    I was not pleased with the choices put before the American people this election cycle. My husband and I got into more than one heated discussion regarding our votes after it was clear President-elect Trump would be the candidate to face off against Hillary Clinton. At one point I’d decided that I would abstain from voting. My 20 year old daughter and I had several discussions regarding the choices before us. Her anger stemmed from having such lousy options her first time to vote. She wanted to be able to cast her first vote for someone she could support.

    I would like you to read her blog post about her final conclusion. She came to these conclusions on her own. In all honesty, I was surprised that she has such strong opinions, because politics is not something we’ve really discussed a lot. As a conservative, I’ve been frustrated for decades with both parties, and a lot of the people in my circle, too. I want protection for the unborn, but I want women to be able to pursue their dreams, whatever those may be, as long as they don’t infringe on the rights and safety of others (I do NOT think a 120 lb. woman should be able to serve in combat — she is not physically able to do the same things as a 200 lb. man and puts her fellow servicemen and women at risk). I do not have a problem with transgender dressing rooms and restrooms — I DO have a problem with transgender individuals demanding to use male or female accommodations because it infringes on the privacy rights of male and female individuals who may find that uncomfortable.

    As far as President-elect Trump is concerned — his character has been found lacking in years past. This is true and not something anyone should be proud of. Who of us has not done things in our past that we wish we had not done? The thing that makes the difference is this: Have we recognized our failings and made a change? If we are Christians, are we truly Christians who have repented? Did he do these heinous things 11 years ago, or 11 days ago? I am married to a man who I love with all my heart. We will celebrate 25 years of marriage in February. He loves Jesus. But I knew him BEFORE Jesus, when we were college students, and he was a male slut. I don’t think he would argue with my description because he admits who and what he was before repenting of his sin. In fact, after dating for two years, we broke up because he was unfaithful. We didn’t see each other for four years, and then the Lord brought us back together after he accepted the Lord. I have never doubted him since because he is a NEW CREATURE in Christ.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is I know and love a man who thought nothing of slapping a woman’s backside, going for all the bases, and kept score with his siblings on how many successful conquests they each had. He did not treat women with the dignity and respect he should have. But that was the old man, not the new one.

    My hope and prayer is that there has been a change in our new president. Time will tell. I am sure of this, though: I could never overlook all the philosophical differences and alleged crimes presented in candidate Hillary Clinton, just to be able to say I voted for the first woman president of the United States. When I am presented with a woman candidate who is honest and not self-serving, who protects the rights of the unborn (unlike Hillary Clinton), I will happily cast my vote for her. I ended up voting for President-elect Trump because I have hope that he is not who he was, and that his experience traveling our nation during the campaign has given him new insight for the American people as a whole, and he will lead as best he can with ALL our citizens in mind.

    Here’s my daughter’s blog post on the subject:
    (https://sempiternalheart.wordpress.com/2016/11/09/i-voted-straight-republican/)

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  6. Laura Jinkins

    (I’m sorry that was so long. And let me add briefly, while I have not cried, I have not been overjoyed, either. Wednesday I was in a funk the entire day, and I can only guess that it is this: We dodged a Clinton bullet, but I’m not sure what to expect either, and that’s a little unnerving.)

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  7. Elizabeth Erazo

    I’m a poli-sci minor and it has inevitably effected the way I watched this election and how I’ve reacted as I’ve watched it unfold. I did not support Donald Trump, but virtually everyone I know in person did.

    Its been incredibly heartbreaking to me, because I’ve had to watch people on the left denigrate those I love, point fingers at my mother and father and tell them they’ve sold their birthright for a bowl of soup, that they’ve traded their salvation for politics, that they’ve betrayed their love of Christ for Donald Trump and I simply do not believe that to be true. No one surrenders their salvation by casting a vote — whether its for a pro-choice candidate or a racist one.

    The thing I’ve observed that I haven’t heard much about, is that this is not necessarily a division of those who are racist and those who aren’t, or those who hate and those who don’t, but a division of *how people politic*. Leftist politics has been swallowed by identity politics, focusing on increasing liberties for LGBT, racial minorities, gender equality, etc. All specific “identity” issues. The right — or Donald Trump — narrowed in on economic issues and the “national” identity. Some may read that “national identity” as a “white identity” but I don’t necessarily think that *has* to be true or is primarily true. In other words, yes all white supremacists are probably nationalists, but not all those who value a national identity are white supremacists – though I will grant you they are most likely to BE white, and I do think that’s significant.

    So that’s how you have people like my literal entire extended family who aren’t overtly racist (although they may fall victim to more covert racism, which will not be addressed by people actually calling them racists) and who love Christ deeply voting for Trump. They politic differently.

    Putting it another way, many on the left have embraced the idea that the “personal is political”. Maybe those who voted Trump have NOT embraced that. They don’t see identity based issues as having political solutions, but rather personal ones which can only be solved person-to-person. Economics, however, and national identity on the global scale (in other words, foreign policy)? Definitely political issues to them.

    Just another perspective that maybe isn’t quite as despairing as the narrative that half our nation are raging misogynists and racists, especially when I really don’t see that idea day to day in my real life.

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  8. Shaun Jex

    Just discovered your blog and this is one of the first posts that I read. Thanks for your thoughtful words and for your passion. The weeks since the election have been difficult for a lot of folks I think. That said, I’ve been heartened by the number of people who have found their voice in its wake, who have decided that remaining silent in the face of intolerance (of any sort) is not acceptable. Happy to be following your blog now and look forward to reading more!

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