Thoughts on the 2016 Election

Some thoughts.

That’s all I offer today, one week after the election of Donald Trump to the highest government office in this country. I started this post on Wednesday morning, and have collected many random thoughts I’ve had since then. There may or may not be any effort to tie them together coherently. It just is what it is.

For the record, I am a registered Libertarian and voted accordingly. I prayerfully considered and researched my options, and just couldn’t be at peace filling in the bubble for either Hillary or Trump. (Not that it’s any of your business, but I just cannot allow anyone to assume I’m aligned with either major party.)

The vitriol on NPR.

Post-election morning, I couldn’t get the news channel to come in on my radio, but NPR was coming in clear. I stopped my radio there, so I could listen in on the latest commentary and news regarding how people were responding to Trump’s win. I have no idea who was talking, because I jumped into the middle of a conversation, and never heard names. The commentary ran something like this (paraphrased, because I’m not perfect):

Man: “I have several friends who voted for Trump holding their nose, and would never consider themselves racist or homophobic, or any of those things.”

Woman: “That doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what they consider themselves. It’s time we stop giving respect to those people, and call it what it is. They are all racists, homophobic, and more.”

Appalled and angry, I found Christmas music. I couldn’t believe my ears.

Then, there was the arrogant triumphant mockery by Trump supporters. Disgusting.

It’s one thing to jump up and down, clink glasses, and celebrate. It’s entirely another to rub the victory in the noses of the defeated. The memes that followed: “This is what happens when you’re given a participation trophy.”

What kind of example does that set for this upcoming generation who are receiving those same trophies from those complaining about them being handed out?

This is why I adore watching children’s community sports far more than any adult competitive event.

Whatever happened to the spirit of the “Good Game” high-five walk? You know what I’m talking about. The dignified respect from the winners to the losers, and vice-versa? Adults are far more childish than children are. (No wonder Jesus tells us that unless we become like little children, we can’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven.)

On that note, I am so grateful for the stellar examples set by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in their post-election speeches. The grace, dignity, and sportsmanlike conduct was commendable. I could almost see the polite “Good Game High Five.”

Please, follow that example, no matter how nasty the preceding campaign behavior was. (Whole nutha level, that.)

The sweeping generalizations. Directly from my Facebook feed: “F*** Trump supporters and f*** anyone who voted 3rd party!”

What I heard was: “You are not acceptable to me as a human being unless you feel and think and act exactly the same way that I do. Your vote, which differed from mine, is enough to warrant the worst expletive I can muster, and that is what I think of you, no matter how much I may profess tolerance otherwise. I tolerate everyone but you.”

So that’s nice.

Wednesday morning, I headed into the office for a short private class. I met a woman there, waiting to see her midwife, and made small talk as I started to get a few things ready for the upcoming class. I asked the ubiquitous “How are you?” And she fell apart. She exploded in a bout of weeping so strong, I instinctively put my arms around her and just held her close. I didn’t even know her name. She didn’t know mine. I just held her. I asked if it was about the election, she nodded.

The grief was real and raw. She was suffering emotionally, and my heart ached for her. I did what I could to comfort until her midwife came to get her for her appointment, and that was that. Life went on that day.

What I want to say is that I see you. I see your pain. I see your surprise and grief and fear. I admit that I can empathize, but I don’t fully understand. But I accept that–I may never fully understand, but I can acknowledge and I can hold space for you. So, I do.

The only pain I have personally felt is the pain of sharp divide. It’s ugly out there, folks. Really ugly. And it hurts my heart.

The election didn’t affect me the way it affected so many across the U.S. The reactions of some surprised me on both sides. There were staunch, third-party voters, proud left-wing liberals, and even a few conservatives literally weeping over Hillary’s loss and Trump’s win. There is definitely common ground to stand on, even if most can’t see it yet.

We will, America. We will.

“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.”
~Edward Mote

I cannot emphasize enough how much my faith in Jesus has held me steady. My hopes for America do not rest on our government–all mere mortals–but on Christ and Christ alone. I believe this has all been divinely orchestrated, and that God has something in it all for us. A lesson, a reprimand, discipline, grace? Who knows?

I certainly won’t speculate on that, but I believe in the God who does know and is calling our nation to himself, in the hopes that we will humble ourselves before he has to do it for us. And yes, that comforts me.

“The outcome is what it is. That can’t be changed right now. Freaking out does absolutely nothing. What are you going to do that will actively make a difference? Posting discouraging or fear-inducing things on social media does not make a difference in where the nation is. It just fuels hate and fear.” ~Janice Boisvert (Long-time friend from our Air Force days.)

Yes and Amen, Janice! I have watched so many of you reach out with kindness, truth-telling in love and humility. Gently reprimanding and standing up for what is right, rather than what might “feel” right. It might “feel” right to call out Hillary’s detractors as racist, privileged, homophobic, Islamaphobic bigots, but it isn’t right. Ad hominem attacks never won converts.

So stop it. Just. Stop.

Put your money where your mouth is and go make a difference for someone in your community.

Channel all of your fear, grief, and anger into positive energy that can fuel real change. Don’t repress it and pretend you don’t feel the way you do. I would never ask you to do that. Don’t be quiet. Be loud — but be productive. Stand up for what you believe in, but don’t be known for who and what you’re against. Be known for what you are for.

If you have enough energy to fight and argue on Facebook, you have enough energy to do something good for those whose cause you believe in. You have enough energy to be a champion for the issues that matter to you.

“For all of us who are grieving today, there is One who sees and hears our cries… He is good and has no evil in Him. He is trustworthy. And when we’re afraid or disappointed, mistreated, unheard and overall despaired, we can make our cries heard without fear of being judged or attacked or bullied.

He is the True Champion of women… and men, too. He’s the Champion of children and babies… and of the poor and marginalized. And of those with disabilities… that is to say, me.” ~Elizabeth McKinney (The Grief of a Quiet Conservative – Huffington Post)

While I am not grieving, this post resonated with me. Go read it.

I have been seeing petitions and outcry against that Dirty Electoral College. They couldn’t win over the detractors, what with the name-calling and all, so they turned to attempting to change (or circumvent) the Constitution itself. It’s the Constitution’s fault! Our racist, bigoted forefathers put it in place to enable slavery!

I might just go crazy if I see another “ABOLISH THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE!” post.

Out of 56 presidential elections, there have been four in which the electoral college decided the results, rather than the popular vote. That, my friends, is exactly how it’s supposed to work. It keeps our country safe from mob rule since we are not a pure democracy, but a democratic republic. It’s not the EC, it’s the two-party system. Politics as a career that is the problem. Not the Constitution. Period.

“It’s frustrating.  The electoral college is one of the checks and balances that prevent maniacs from seizing the oval office as though they won a throne for half a decade.  The rigid two-party system has become a hindrance to that balance, which is how we got here.” ~Ellice Neff (School teacher & Facebook friend)

We are a nation ruled by Law, not by the majority. By the people, for the people. If it was only BY the people, it would end up being for only some of the people. We’ve had two terms of a liberal White House. It’s healthy to switch it up. Don’t worry, liberals–the pendulum will swing again in your favor.

It’s called balance.

The Founders of our nation wanted to keep that same balance for the Presidential election. They didn’t want majority rule at the highest level of government. And that is a good thing.

No, it’s nowhere near perfect, but it ensures the process is as free as possible and helps ensure a peaceful transition of power.

Check out these videos from Prager University for a basic rundown:

I came across this article from Vox, a liberal website, that intrigued me. It’s looooooong, but worth reading every. single. word. It sums up wonderfully exactly the problem so many conservatives have when dialoguing with the liberal political elite. And I decided to share some of the quotes from it.

“What have been the consequences of the smug style?

It has become a tradition for the smug, in editorials and essay and confident Facebook boasting, to assume that the presidential debates will feature their candidate, in command of the facts, wiping the floor with the empty huckster ignorance of their Republican opponent.

It was popularly assumed, for a time, that George W. Bush was too stupid to be elected president.

The smug believed the same of Ronald Reagan.

John Yoo, the architect of the Bush administration’s torture policies, escaped The Daily Show unscathed. Liberals wondered what to do when Jon Stewart fails. What would success look like? Were police waiting in the wings, a one-way ticket to the Hague if Stewart nailed him?

It would be unfair to say that the smug style has never learned from these mistakes. But the lesson has been, We underestimated how many people could be fooled.

That is: We underestimated just how dumb these dumb hicks really are.

We just didn’t get our message to them. They just stayed in their information bubble. We can’t let the lying liars keep lying to these people — but how do we reach these idiots who only trust Fox?

Rarely: Maybe they’re savvier than we thought. Maybe they’re angry for a reason.”


Here’s the conclusion I draw: If Donald Trump has a chance in November, it is because the knowing will dictate our strategy. Unable to countenance the real causes of their collapse, they will comfort with own impotence by shouting, “Idiots!” again and again, angrier and angrier, the handmaidens of their own destruction.

The smug style resists empathy for the unknowing. It denies the possibility of a politics whereby those who do not share knowing culture, who do not like the right things or know the Good Facts or recognize the intellectual bankruptcy of their own ideas can be worked with, in spite of these differences, toward a common goal.

It is this attitude that has driven the dispossessed into the arms of a candidate who shares their fury. It is this attitude that may deliver him the White House, a “serious” threat, a threat to be mocked and called out and hated, but not to be taken seriously.

The wages of smug is Trump.


It is impossible, in the long run, to cleave the desire to help people from the duty to respect them. It becomes all at once too easy to decide you know best, to never hear, much less ignore, protest to the contrary.

At present, many of those most in need of the sort of help liberals believe they can provide despise liberalism, and are despised in turn. Is it surprising that with each decade, the “help” on offer drifts even further from the help these people need?

And finally…

The smug style, at bottom, is a failure of empathy. Further: It is a failure to believe that empathy has any value at all. It is the notion that anybody worthy of liberal time and attention and respect must capitulate, immediately, to the Good Facts.

If they don’t (and they won’t) you’re free to write them off and mock them. When they suffer, it’s their just desserts.

Make no mistake: I am not suggesting that liberals adopt a fuzzy, gentler version of their politics. I am not suggesting they compromise their issues for the sake of playing nice. What I am suggesting is that the battles waged by liberalism have drifted far away from their old egalitarian intentions.

I am suggesting that open disdain for the people they say they want to help has led them to stop helping those people, too.

I am suggesting that in the case of a Kim Davis, liberalism resist the impulse to go beyond the necessary legal fight and explicitly delight in punishing an old foe.

I am suggesting that they instead wonder what it might be like to have little left but one’s values; to wake up one day to find your whole moral order destroyed; to look around and see the representatives of a new order call you a stupid, hypocritical hick without bothering, even, to wonder how your corner of your poor state found itself so alienated from them in the first place. To work with people who do not share their values or their tastes, who do not live where they live or like what they like or know their Good Facts or their jokes.

All this and a lot more from Emmett Rensin, deputy First Person editor at Vox. Seriously, go read it.

Last, but not least, I have to end by saying that I’m tired of negativity, vitriol, hatred, and venom being spewed on social media. It’s not helpful to anyone, least of all those who are typing so furiously.

“I’m just venting, and it’s better to just release all that negative emotion.”

No. No it’s not. It’s rude at best, and enormously vindictive at worst.

Venting Doesn’t Release Negativity; It Rehearses It.

There is a healthy venting, and for many, it’s best done in person with someone who can actually help you process through difficult emotions. I have failed at this multiple times, and this article called me to the carpet when I read it. Stopped me in my tracks, and caused me to rethink the way I share.

I have to address the acts of violence and hatred toward members of the LGBTQ, black, brown, and Muslim individuals and communities.

I don’t know what to say. I have to be honest and say that I’m skeptical of the legitimacy of many of the claims. But I am open to hearing the truth, and everyone involved is innocent until proven guilty in this country. We are still ruled by Law, and if these things are happening, I trust that they will be appropriately prosecuted.

That said, I know for a fact incidences like these happen in America. There really are racists and bigots of all stripes in this country (and in every. other. country on the planet). They should be called to account for actual crimes they commit, just like any other criminal. Harassment and assault are always a result of hatred–whether it’s rooted in racism, sexism, or any other “-ism” is beside the point. They are crimes punishable under the Law, as they should be. The motives should not matter, except in helping to seek the criminal via profiling.

Okay. One more thing. Keep this in mind, my friends:

“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tower high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

That star, my friends, is you. And the love you can give to others. Do not be afraid. Have courage.

Trust God. Do the work you are called to do with grace and hope and strength. The world has not ended. God is still on his throne.

Love Him. Love others.

And shine.


Okay. That’s it. Some random thoughts I have had in the past week since the election.

Peace Out.


2 thoughts on “Thoughts on the 2016 Election

  1. I would support you even if I didn’t agree with everything you said, my friend, but your words make me feel less alone in this world.

Comments are closed.