Tuesday night I sat ready to watch the election results as I do with every election. As they came in my mind started to fail me. It was more quiet than usual. I didn't have an immediate emotional response, but damn if I didn't have a physical one. Pounding headache, shaking, running to the bathroom with the most upset of stomachs. As a political junkie it was clear to me early on who was going to be elected. Despite knowing this I couldn't accept it, process it - "no. no. this is not real. nope. not happening". I tried to go to bed around 10:30. I couldn't. I finally was able to shut my eyes at 4 am. I woke up every few minutes and at 6 am finally gave up on sleep and called it a new day. When I woke up my chest felt that deep overwhelming pain like after a horrible breakup. My emotions had caught up. I went to yoga that morning and as the teacher started class I silently sobbed on my mat. The spontaneous and unexpected sobs followed me around all day Wednesday. Despite not voting for him, I expected Trump to win, even still an overwhelming sadness moved into me as it became our reality.
Early Tuesday evening as I was watching and panicking in a group text with two of my dearest friends, one of them spoke up texting: "Whatever happens we can deal with it. We individually & collectively can continue striving to raise strong, brave, and kind humans. And do what we can to bring light, healing, and justice to our part of the world." Her sentiments shook me out of my tendency to see the negative. In that moment it was crystal clear to me that that was the message we needed to be putting out to the world as this thing unfolded.
"I do not believe that my friends who voted for Trump are xenophobic or racist or any of the other words being used to describe Trump supporters. But I do believe they knowingly chose a candidate and then proceeded to vote someone into the White House who is. I pray some of the things he has talked about never become a reality... like registering Muslims for one... BUT if it does, I hope to God that it is the people who voted for him that are the greatest advocates for the people who are targeted. I pray they will fiercely protect their fellow citizens and not allow tragic history to repeat itself."
It's so important that we take note that over 75% of American adults did not vote for Trump. And many, arguably most, of the people who DID vote for him, don't like him. Trump may be the president of this country, but his rhetoric does not represent our values at large. This information can be processed many ways. We can see this reality and respond in anger at those who didn't vote, or those who voted differently than us, or at the DNC, or at the electoral college, etc etc. etc. Or we can see it as a bright message of hope, a solidification that we as people are still overwhelmingly compassionate, inclusive, loving beings - and really this just displays a large diamond that we need to work together to make shine. In all honesty I feel both of these when confronted with this reality. Que the tale of two wolves.
"An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied, 'The one you feed.' "
Love didn't lose. The unfortunate reality is love wasn't overly visible from either side of the isle. Mud-slinging is a seemingly unavoidable part of modern day politics, but this time we all got so caught up slinging mud we forgot to inspire. Be it of government, Muslims, immigrants, or Trump - FEAR, not love, was the message that was received by the people. Hate is just misdirected fear.
And as we sit here in the midst of this transition, collectively and individually, the bad wolf in us can smell the blood. It's been fed the potent red meat of fear, anger, greed regularly for months. We have to starve him out. We need to be overly aware of our thoughts, our actions, our words. Move forward in love, in grace, in humility. We must guard our hearts while consciously and daily preparing the most irresistable feast for the good wolf in everything we do.