Thursday, November 10, 2016

On Elections And The Need To Love

Editor's Note: Today's fantastic reflection is from the one and only Claire Rosemont...



I don’t know how I expected to feel after this election. I think for a long time I was in shock or expecting things would change. That somehow the resounding voice of the people, unsatisfied with our choices, would change something. That something that Trump said or did would disqualify him. However, my hope was always for the republican candidate to change, I had no expectation for Hillary.

As my fiance and I watched the results come in I began to get nauseous. I was scared. I was sad, despairing a little. And I think if I’m being really honest, though I did not vote for her (or Trump) I think I was hoping for a Clinton presidency. Not because I like her policies or her actions but because I like the status quo. I felt like I could handle the persecution she would bring upon the Church, the pro-life movement, and religious liberty because we’ve been there before. We’ve been doing that for years and I knew we could continue.

But, to have a president that thinks sexual assault isn’t a “real issue”, who talks openly about women as though they are an object or lesser than men, who cannot maintain the freedoms we have enjoyed as a nation due to his wild tongue and rash judgements was unknown, frightening, and disheartening.

I work with youth. I try to instill in them respect for others. I try to instill in them compassion. Empathy. Truth. I try to instill in them everything our President-Elect has openly spoken against. This election held a lot of emotion for me, and I cannot imagine the feelings of my muslim brothers and sisters, my brothers and sisters who are survivors of sexual assault, and my brothers and sisters who experience same-sex attraction or gender confusion. Their fear is greater than mine will ever be.

And I think as Catholics, that’s where we need to be. We need, absolutely need, to understand that this election was not about just the rights of the unborn or supreme court justices but also families who will be ripped apart by deportation. About the refugees fleeing violence in their countries. About our friends and family who are fearing for their lives because of the rhetoric of our President-Elect.

Honestly, Trump can say all he wants about being pro-life, about how much he didn’t mean what he said, about working with the people to form the America we dream of but until he understands that “the people” are not all white males who think just like him we will not see that come to fruition.

I can’t ignore the atrocity that Clinton stands for but I can recognize her and her supporters very human and real emotions in the midst of this loss. I can recognize the fear that my friends are feeling. I can recognize the distress and despair that people feel and I can reach out. I can be a safe haven. I can love before all else. If loving my LGBTQ friends right now means reaching out to them and telling them that I’m here, that they are safe with me, and that I’m sorry for what they are experiencing then maybe that’s what I need to do, instead of gloating about a bigoted man getting into the white house because “supreme court justices.”

We, as a Catholic Church, need to get uncomfortable. We need to reach out. We need to love. Of course we need to speak truth. But we have to understand that love comes first. Jesus spoke truth but He also healed. He dined with. He cared for. He walked with. He didn’t walk away from the suffering of others and regard it as misguided. He entered in when it was tough and loved them where they were at. He and the disciples after Him didn’t convert hearts because of doctrine, they converted hearts because they told the story of Christ the Man and His compassion, His victory, and His relentless love. May we be rooted enough to do the same.

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