Friday, November 11, 2016

We Need to Chill the F**K Out

So, ok, we had an election this week.  And about 60 million people voted for each candidate.  Electoral college aside, about 48% of the people that voted picked Hillary or Donald, and the remaining 4% someone else.  So let's safely say about half the voters in this nation are disappointed in the result.  To put that in a little perspective, fewer people voted for Donald Trump than Mitt Romney 4 years ago (by about 800,000 people).  So, the half of the country that was disappointed in the last election are now celebrating a win for their party.

And, it looks like America is going insane.  Again.  There are people on the "losing" side that are angry and are protesting.  There are recriminations about "how could we let this happen?"  People are yelling at each other.  The media is talking about the "meltdown of a political party".  Sound familiar?  Same thing happened four years ago.  About half the country is not happy with our new President and have lost their ever loving minds.  And I have to just say, everybody just chill!  To my liberal friends, I have to also remind you that you spent the last 8 years fighting conservatives trying to tell you that Obama did not deserve to be President.  The shoe is on the other foot now so be careful how you react.  And, keep in mind, that come January 20, Donald Trump will be OUR President.  As President of the United States, he will govern ALL Americans, just like President Obama does now.

However, this isn't really what I want to talk about.  What I really want to talk about is the underlying current of hate that seems to be bubbling up as a result of this election.  I won't point a finger at any one particular group, but it's out there everywhere.  And the hate begins with anger.  If there's one thing I've seen on my Facebook feed this week, it's a lot of anger.  I don't know if it's well deserved or not.  I'll be the first to admit I didn't vote for Trump.  But the election is over and it's time to move on to the hard work.

And that hard work is to find common ground and begin to heal the divisions in our nation.  The polarization has been getting worse over the years.  Since the 90's politics has become more and more about power and winning and less about governing and constituents.  This election cycle is the culmination of a movement (on both sides) that's been under way for 20 years.  And it's time to stem the tide and turn this thing around.

So, how do we do that.  Well that's easy.  And hard.  Jesus said it simply and powerfully.  Love your enemy and pray for those that persecute you.  My friends, we need to get back to loving (and respecting) those that have different opinions than us.  Most people that disagree with you are well meaning people.  I'm sure if we actually listened to their opinion in a loving and respectful fashion, then they would give us the same courtesy.  We may not change each other's minds, but maybe we'd learn something.

And maybe we would quell the anger.  Not to go all Star Wars, but anger is the next step to hate.  And the only antidote is love.  That's why Jesus asks us to love our enemies.  We can be angry and upset with the ones we love, but it's really hard to hate them.  Further, it's really hard to be angry with someone you love when you're with them.  In my own experience, it's easy to be angry with my wife about something if she's not around but it just melts away once I get in the same room with her.  That's what love does to you.  It takes away hate.

I really think all of this anger and division is the work of the Evil One to keep us from loving each other.  And by Evil One, I do mean the biblical one, not any particular human being.  God is love and God calls us to love each other.  If you do, the Evil One has no power.  But if the Evil One can sow seeds of doubt and division, then we find it hard to love and embrace God who is love.  The signs stating Love Trumps Hate are cute, but also true to an extent.  We need to love our neighbors and our enemies.  Not a superficial love, but the kind that puts their welfare above our own.  A selfless kind of love that can be an example to others.

It's ok to be angry.  There are a lot of important issues facing our nation we need to address.  We don't know what's going to happen and that makes us afraid.  And that fear is driving a lot of the anger out there.  But we need to channel that anger into something positive.  And do so in a loving way.  Keep fighting for the issues you care about.  Try to change minds and hearts if you think your cause is just.  But do so in a loving way.  You're more likely to bring someone to your side that way than by scoffing at those that don't agree with you.  Righteous indignation never changed anyone's mind.

And don't be afraid.  The other thing we've lost in this nation is trust in God.  I don't care which God you worship.  I've always felt all religions really worship the same God without realizing that's what they're doing.  So whether you worship the Triune God of Catholic faith or some other god, trust that you will be well.  My God loves all of creation and wants nothing more that to love us and bless us.  But in order to do so, we need to let go of fear and attachments and let God work in us.  Trust that God's plan for us is to give us everything that we need so that we can be one with God in the next life.

So relax everyone.  Be at peace.  God's got this.  And if God has work for you to do to make a difference in our nation, God will lead you to it and bless your efforts.  May the Lord bless us and keep us.  May God shine His face upon us and be gracious to us.  May God look upon us kindly and give us peace.  God bless all of us.