In the days immediately following the election, every morning I found myself flooded with this intense sense of disembodiment, as if my very being was resisting the reality it had awoken to. As I walked the campus my steps felt a little heavier, conversation felt a little weightier, every class was filled with a listless ennui. And although the initial shock has worn and life has “returned to normal,” a dull sense of weariness has taken residence in my bones and shows no signs of relenting.
The deeper reality of this post-election landscape is not always evident, rather it has slowly injected itself into the crevices of my veins which now circulates a strange mix of blood and sorrow. Even if the sorrow can be ignored for a few hours or even a few days, it will eventually makes its presence known and I am reminded that there is nothing ordinary about this “new normal.”
Yet I do not embrace this burden myself because of overwhelming fear or shattered optimism. I have a greater hope in the one who transcends these temporal human experiences and sits exalted on the throne of heaven above as Lord.
I know what the scriptures say about suffering, that “we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen” (2 Corinthians 4:18) and that “the testing of [my] faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:3).
I know that “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty give him something to drink” (Romans 12:20) and that Christians are called to “love [our] enemies and pray for those who persecute [us]” (Matthew 5:44).
These truths are not lost on me and neither is my hope in spite of all that has happened these past weeks. Rather, I have not shed tears for the sake of myself, but for the sake of others, for those who do not share this same hope.
I see so many Christians who have been quick to encourage, extending cursory remarks such as, “Jesus is still on the throne,” and “We are called to respect our leaders,” and “God will use this for good,” yet I have seen so little weeping. I have seen so little weeping for those who are afraid to walk the streets for fear of being attacked, for those who are afraid of deportation, for those who are scared to lose their healthcare. This is not some abstract political talking point, but a reality for many students on this campus and so I have come to plead for your compassion.
The night of the election I was with other Christians. Many of us were in shock just like the rest of the country. The group was a political grabbag, some Republicans and some Democrats, but we lay aside our differences as we gathered together and prayed.
We prayed for our campus and our government and its citizens and for a more fervent reliance on God in these troubling times. It was refocusing and encouraging and despite still feeling nervous, I was hopeful; I remembered that my hope was found in something greater.
And then I went to the protest.
I stood in the flood as it engulfed the campus, a tumultuous sea of angry students, and the air was filled with a palpable rage. I did not cry out “Fuck Donald Trump!” and “Not my president!” with the rest of the crowd. I simply watched; I saw darkened eyes and clenched fists. I’m not sure who would have been moved by the deep profundity of, “It’ll get better. Just hope in God.”
I understand that we must now shift our discussion to issues of Supreme Court justices and religious freedom (particularly the horrendous issue of Muslim registration), but it must not be done with flippant disregard. Our rhetoric has consequences.
Fellow students and friends are facing real repercussions because of this election and we need to listen. As Christians, we afford to remain in a cultural bubble that remains oblivious to the pains of the people around us. How could we not extend love to them as we have been so greatly commanded to do?
I am incredibly thankful for the many who have been actively listening and for those who have been teachable in learning this; continue to stand in support of those who are hurting and bear their burden as your own.
I don’t want this campus to view Christians as a Republican voting block or a weird group of closet racists or a coalition of clubs that occasionally gives out free food. Above all we should be known on this campus as people whose sole desire is to extend care to those around us. Do not compromise in faith, but simply speak it with kindness.
With all this anger and fear and reactionary emotion filling our country and our campus, how much more necessary is a steady and unadulterated love.
Curtis Yee is the Student Life editor for The Triton and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org