This week in Reflections, I wrote about love. About the difficult demands of u/Universalism. I wrote about how I cannot in good conscience, given my theology, write off everyone who voted for Trump as less than human. I can’t write off any of them as “other.” Not even the ones who would or do wish I were not a preacher, wish I were not a writer. Wish most simply that I were not. Who hate me and mine.
I wrote about how I believe progressives need to build coalitions to come together first in grief and then into action.
Today, though, I write about hope. And stick with me, because though the beginning of this piece is rough, we will get to hope. We will get to hope, and its wild audacity, thank you still-President Obama.
Where can we find hope, those of us still grieving the implications of this President-elect and Vice President-elect taking office?
Some say that hope is to be found in the elite and other primarily white voters who voted for Donald Trump not because of racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, ableism, and sexism, but in spite of them. Those who “looked past” those parts of his and his running mate’s beliefs and approach. I am not down with that approach.
To vote for someone who has been openly, consistently sexist, racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, fat phobic, and ableist is to enable all these positions oneself.
Do you hear me? To have voted for Donald Trump because one hated Hillary Clinton is to have voted for all those other things. It means to have piled oppression on oppression.
So I do not intend to find hope in those folks, not as a group. I am open to one-on-one conversations with Trump supporters. I am praying for their experience of compassion, ease, and genuine well-being. But that group is not where I find hope.
I find hope in my friend who said, “I’ve never been political, but today I want to go to church because I might hear something about how to deal with the election results.”
I find hope in people with little to lose realizing that they have friends and family with a lot to lose. I find in hope in their realizing there are beloved people in their lives who need protection, care, and action.
I find hope in the grief, solidarity, and compassion circles being formed across the country. I find hope in people coming together to support one another, in meetings that run long because folks realize that they need each other. That they need the touch and care and compassion of one another at this point even more than they need to think and strategize and plan.
I find hope in those things too: Thinking and strategizing and planning are all good. All really powerful tools that are being brought to bear in ways they never have been before in my lifetime.
I find hope in people’s recognition of intersectionality.
I will use myself as an example. As an Anglo-American, I benefit from white supremacy. I am a ciswoman, with the complexity of privilege and oppression that brings. I am fat. I am a rape survivor. I am queer. I have visible and invisible disabilities. I have all these identities together and more. They are ALL part of me. I am not fat one minute and a ciswoman the next.
I have privilege in some spaces, not in others, and usually a mix. Intersectional attention, action, and compassion are essential if we are to bring about the world of which we dream. A world of justice and peace.
Do you dream of justice and peace for all? Then you are part of where I find hope. You are the hope of many. May we come to a place where we can embody our hope in action and support.
In the meantime, keep healing, keep treating yourselves tenderly, and keep allowing yourselves whatever time you need to get to hopeful action. No matter how long, the healing is worth it.
Emotional strength is necessary, and we cannot just demand it of ourselves. We can, however, encourage ourselves and others to listen to our deep hearts. We can encourage ourselves and others to ask our inner wisdom what we need, moment to moment. And then do those things.
Hope is in action, as my brother, Peter Buckland, says.
Sometimes that action has to be gentle nurturance. And sometimes that action is civic engagement, resistance, and leadership. For me, one emerges out of the other like a flower blooming.
I know I sometimes exhort you, my readers, to be gentle, to be careful with yourselves, to be kind. And then I forget to do these things myself. So today, I commit to gentleness and persistence. To exercising and going outside (where I can even see some blue sky right now!). To clearing my energy so I don’t hold onto every awful thing I read or hear. And to not fretting over work left undone.
There will always be work left undone. For now, the work of healing in the service of hope, that is my work.
Blessings on you and on your house.