The Mourning After the 2016 Election

Crying Lady Liberty_Webpage

Thirty-six years ago, in the first Presidential election in which I could vote, I heard with utter disbelief that the country had elected Ronald Reagan as president. Since that cold-reality night, I’ve never made assumptions about what American voters will do. And given some presidential results since then, that’s unfortunately proven a wise caution.

Yet this morning I’m reeling once more from horrified incredulity. We’ve just witnessed the election of a raging narcissist not only manifestly unqualified but who won largely by calling upon the very worst of America. A man who preaches division rather than unity; who unapologetically appealed to racism and crass nativism; who has built a bitter bridge to the White House on the backs of immigrants, people of color, women, and the poor. A man who plays on fear, while offering no real vision of a greater, better, more just society.

I don’t think we really needed another reminder that history moves forward only haltingly, or that times of reaction and retrenchment have happened repeatedly for centuries – much less that they always bring great suffering. But here it is. An unambiguous reminder that the road to justice, equality, peace, and simple decency is both long and tortuous.

We’re still on that road to justice, though the passage ahead right now looks dark. Times like these are times when we need each other more than ever, times when we must remember that in the immortal and often-quoted words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

May you find strength and ways to turn grief and anger into hope and resolve. We as a community and we as a nation are better than this. The country and the world are now depending on us all to show that we are. And I know – even amidst the shock and sorrow and anger – that, together, we are up to that challenge.

With thanks for all your commitment to justice,