I wrote this blog post the day after the election in 2016. I was living in France at the time and felt so far removed from what was happening. Oddly enough, that only made me more passionate about it. On the eve of the flexing your midterm right to the polls, I encourage you to not lose sight of the hope in what these past two years have done for us. We’ve come together, rallied, and persevered—that is what matters. So take this post with a grain of salt. It’s probably not for everybody, but it’s how I’ve coped. Maybe it will help some of you cope too.
November 7th, 2016: Pau, France
After enduring three very unproductive days in class where all we could seem to talk about in very broken Franglais was the election, I deleted my Facebook app and turned my screen settings to grayscale on my phone. I needed a chance to decide how I felt about all of it for myself. While I applauded everyone who was already planning their next protest when they got back to their home university, that just wasn’t something I could picture myself doing. So I did what I do best and wrote about it, since that normally helps me form a healthier opinion than listening to angry Americans cussing out Donald Trump on the news. I knew something was gravely wrong when I watched my host mom, Marie-Jo, gaze at the television and cover her ears when these people began spitting out horrible things in anger and fear. While she knew her small grandchildren would not understand, she did, and then proceeded to hustle them to bed. I was almost embarrassed, watching my fellow Americans trample one and other, egging the windows of the Trump tower in New York. I understood them completely because I was angry too, but I refused to believe that this was the best way to respond.
Marie-Jo clucked her tongue at another angry New Yorker, spewing vulgarity. “If they are so angry, they should vote him out when they have the chance,” she said.
I looked at her, so composed even amid the chaos, holding her hands over her ears for protection, just in case the protestors came back on the screen. It was the most reasonable thing I had heard since the chaos had ensued.
I usually wouldn’t give two flying hoots about politics, but for the first time since I decided to major in journalism, I formed an opinion without the fear of what others would think, so let me get something straight.
I use the “Politics” section of the newspaper as a covering for my desk when I paint. I get squeamish when a professor asks me about the recent activity of the GOP or when someone asks which party I am a part of. Sifting through all of the convolutions of scattered opinions and biasly written articles often leaves me standing in a heap of defeat not quite remembering where I started or what to believe. My mind often turns to other things in class when someone steers the conversation back to the election.
If you know me, you know that talking about politics makes me uncomfortable—like, really uncomfortable because it’s never been something to leave me on the edge of my seat. I lose interest fast.
How tragic is that for a journalism major? Granted, I don’t plan on becoming a publicist for a campaign or a reporter for The Economist, but staying informed on politics is still important for my profession, even if it makes my eyes glaze over.
It was in a media law class at my university that helped take the edge off politics because I was told that in order to be a good journalist you have to exercise your moral backbone and have an opinion
Well, yeah, I thought, of course. Backbone? Check. Morals? Check. Opinion? Crap.
I have never been told so fervently that I MUST have an opinion, even on politics. I must have a backbone and defend my beliefs. To do this, I have to be informed. And to be informed, I have to do some homework.
My initial thought was, how could my opinion on the political state of the world not be passed over by someone who cares so little? How could I make someone care that I have something to say? Then my professor for media law told us something else: who cared what someone else thought? Have a backbone and stand by what you believe. Staying informed and building your morals is the most important part about being a journalist and having an opinion.
I refuse to apologize for that long-winded introduction because I know there are others like me who get uncomfortable about having opinions on tough things like politics. But I have come to understand how vital it is for twenty-somethings nowadays to speak up.
So, this is me trying to have an opinion, and for once, actually browsing through the “Politics” section of the (French) newspaper.
I don’t believe in the person that has been elected to run the country, nor do I have confidence in his proposed plans to “Make America Great Again.” However, what other choice do we have now, but to give him a chance to lead? It’s hard to stay positive and act classy about something that appears so disastrous.
I simply cannot take one more Facebook post about how someone “woke up in tears” or about how “Trump is an absolute dick and we will impeach him.” Your voice is heard and I understand your distress, and applaud you for speaking up, but please, also understand that there is hope.
I have decided to not be negative because I have hope in the Lord, who is King, and who has overcome this world.
I believe in optimism and in a sovereign, loving God whose plans are so much greater than our feeble opinions. I believe that when we get wrapped up in the mess we’ve made, it convolutes our perspective. Everything happens for a reason, and this reason, while we may never know, could be to come together. Call me an ill-informed millennial, but this is our chance to come together not because of who was elected president, but because of Who reigns high above it all.
This is our chance to love, to persevere, to stand with our brothers and sisters who fear for the future. It’s our job to inform them that this is only the beginning of a beautiful opportunity to do exactly what we have always been called to do: love.
I don’t want to impose what I believe on you, but isn’t that part of having an opinion? And if what I believe in is love — not politics or religion, but LOVE, then maybe this will sound less like prophesying. So hear me out:
My hope for my home is not in the president of the United States, but in the glorious plan of God we will never understand. I think I have had the chance to watch God work these plans in mysterious ways, especially in my own life. It gets to a point where I become frustrated with myself for trying to comprehend why something is happening. Or how a loving God could subject me to a situation. The truth is, my narrow-minded perspective can sometimes only see what’s in front of me, not the whole picture. The truth is, I do not have the capacity to comprehend why things happen, but surely there is a God who does.
I have to sit back and allow God to work, allow Him to use me, and stop trying to control how things unfold. The more I try and see why things are the way they are, the less I understand.
It’s called spiritual blindness, and I suck at it. I suck at it because I am trying way too hard to understand this wildly grandiose perspective that only God has. I can do everything in my power to see it too, but that’s not faith. I would not be trusting in Him, but my own ability to see and comprehend something that is much bigger than me.
What do you do then, when you’ve accepted you won’t ever understand?
Truthfully, my first thought is to roll up my sleeves, shut my Bible in frustration, and make things happen for myself. I am still learning how to combat this response and I have tried to admit my blindness with grace.
However, I can start by embracing the wonder of it all.
The wonder of how much greater my God is than all I have ever known to be great. The wonder that my God has this gloriously magnificent plan for me and my country, and that we have only seen one side of the story. The wonder that God will never forsake or abandon us.
There is wonder in not knowing what lies ahead or why things happen. There is glory beyond the void. There is hope in a greater destiny. There is more to this life than we’ve been told, and the key is trust---but that’s easier said than done. This is our moment to glory in the sufferings and to love while enduring a president who might not show any love at all.
“And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope DOES NOT PUT US TO SHAME, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us,” (Romans 5:1-6).
God allows us to suffer, to push forward, to experience hope, to be filled with His love for us. That is why tumultuous things happen in our lives. It’s about our free will and what we can do to further see into the hope that lies beyond the void of hopelessness.
So, maybe, that’s my opinion: we must glory in the hard things, and have hope because when all the votes are counted it is LOVE that wins.
I believe in love. And that we have been called to love each other even in the most divided of times, for those are the times we are called to love the most. I believe that paying these politicians attention and a simultaneously giving them our hope for a more beautiful world causes us to lose sight of own development as a loving human race. We can not be so easily distracted.
My hope is that you take heart, take courage . . . and maybe take a chill pill. And delete Facebook for a while. Go for a walk and get some fresh air. Rest in the thought that you are taken care of by a God who is so much greater than the craziest outcome in election history.
For those of you who are angry, put down your middle fingers and your picket signs.
For those you who are indifferent, please take a stance and an opinion.
For those of you who fear, know that you are heard. You are not alone. And most importantly, you are loved.