In the days following the election, I have felt the following feels: anger, fear, hope, deep sadness, energy, fatigue, a lack of motivation as well as a deep desire to let go and move forward. I have been present with these emotions in both healthy and unhealthy ways. I have let them blind me as well as comfort me.
I have wrestled with my white privilege like I never have before. I have fought with my identity as an Anabaptist Christian. I have wept for my brothers and sisters in the Latinx, LGBTQ+, Black, and Muslim communities, as well as communities of sexual assault survivors.
While I am not able to fully understand your experience, your stories and your fear, I want to honor you and the valuable voice you bring to our community at Goshen College. I want to take a step back, and let you take the lead.
To my brothers and sisters who voted for Mr. Trump, please know that I want to hear your voice as well. And I’m not just saying that. I want to actually hear and understand your stories and your truths with an open heart and mind. Please forgive me for being unwilling to hear your voice and for assuming I know how you feel about everything based on your decision to support Mr. Trump.
Thank you for making me feel uncomfortable when you stood up and shared your voice in the chapel following the election. It seems like an odd thing to be grateful for, but in order to bridge the huge divide, we must be willing to hear your voices and your truths.
You may be asking, so where do you stand Emily? That’s a good question, and one I ask myself often. In this moment, I am willing to stand in the middle. Some may argue that the middle is for the weak and the indecisive. I would argue that it is much easier to identify as liberal or conservative, staying within the confines of your party.
As humans we don’t like tension; it scares us. But as a follower of Jesus, the man who kissed lepers, befriended prostitutes, and baffled authority, I believe I am called to let go of my own selfish desires to be “comfortable” and bring an open mind and heart to every conversation.
All that being said, I would do anything to sit down over a cup of coffee or tea with you, whoever you may be, whatever perspective you have on the outcome of the election. I want to hear your story.
As my brother Shane Claiborne writes, “I think that’s what our world is desperately in need of – lovers, people who are building deep, genuine relationships with fellow strugglers along the way, and who actually know the faces of the people behind the issues they are concerned about.” May we all be reminded that we are all just a bunch of strugglers longing to be loved and heard.