I didn’t want to write a political column, but here I am. The morning after election night, America has spoken, Donald Trump is set to become our 45th President, and I’m writing a political column for a conservative Christian university’s newspaper even though I didn’t vote Republican.
I don’t think there’s anything I could say about this election that hasn’t already been said. We all know this election cycle was crazy. We all know both of the candidates have flaws. We all know politics have a knack for tearing this country apart. So the point of this column is not to point out the problems in liberalism or conservatism. The point of this is not to point fingers and call each other names. The point of this is not to be a sore loser and complain. The point of this is to offer an answer to the question: “What now?”
Except, I don’t know what’s going to happen next. No one does. But I do know that America is still a country where we can exercise our freedom of speech, but we should not be so concerned with voicing our own opinion that we forget to be quiet and listen to others, too. Divisive situations like this election demand respect from both sides – something we lack too often. We must honor and respect both the democratic process and the differing opinions of those around us. Whether you are pleased or disappointed with the outcome, today, like every day, you have a choice.
I also know this: in Mark 12:31, Jesus said to “love your neighbor as yourself.” He did not say, “Love your neighbor as yourself, except if they’re Democrat, or Black, or gay, or poor, or Muslim, or different than you in any way.” Obeying Jesus’ commandment to love people encompasses the entire human population, even those who are different than you – especially those who are different than you, because that’s what Jesus did. Remember that love is patient, love is kind, love does not dishonor others, love is not easily angered. In this post-election world, as our entire country asks what happens now, this is what we should answer: don’t give into the temptation to attack our new President, or the co-worker, friend, or family member who voted differently than you. Instead, answer them with a handshake, or a smile, or a hug, and please choose to love.