Yesterday was a surprisingly tension ridden day for me. I woke up to the election results and, as expected, many people rejoiced and many people lamented the outcome. This came as no surprise for me. We, as a country, were heavily divided on our presidential candidates. Even I, personally, had done my best to prepare myself for whatever outcome would happen by focusing my attention on Jesus Christ, who remains King of the Universe no matter which candidate the United States of America was voted into office (in fact, this reality of Christ as King is something we, as Church, will reflect heavily on in just a couple weeks). After the initial smartphone check on the news to see the results yesterday morning, I made a fundamental error throughout the rest of the day: I checked social media.
Social media is not a bad thing, and I support it (just scroll to the bottom of my website to see the links to my social media), but yesterday social media blew up into a storm of frustration and discouragement, bordering on hate of our president-elect and everyone who supported him. Perhaps what surprised and saddened me the most about it was the fact that, if social media is to be believed, then somehow our country is full of hateful, people who are hostile toward the marginalized,the poor, and the outcasts. This is a completely unjust assertion. Maybe I’m just a sheltered Wyoming priest who is naïve, but the vast majority of people that I have met and know are not any of those things, regardless of where they fall politically. Plus, no matter who is leading our country, we, as human persons, still have the same goal when living in a social community: to support and protect the dignity of all human life, which means we are called to love all people authentically. This fundamental call also includes our president, whether that is now Donald Trump, or could have been Hillary Clinton.
Every single human desires the same thing, authentic love given and received. The challenge we face today (as we did yesterday and will tomorrow) is living out of that vocation to love all people as Jesus showed us how to love. This means that we love all persons because each person is made in the image and likeness of God, but always remembering that love does not mean condoning actions that lead to harm. I think that we are, today, in a position to put our focus back on persons, not on policy and stop promoting and enacting policy that does harm.
Today I will ignore social media, for I know that the humanity is better than Facebook and Twitter lead us to believe. Let us pray for our president-elect, Donald Trump, that he may truly guide our country in living out the truth in love, and let us also pray for our country that we may do the same.