The words I must say

When the nation is deeply divided and tensions run high, how can I express honestly what I feel?
I do not want to be yet another voice of division and strife, and yet I cannot swallow what I am feeling. To do so would be untrue to my personality, unfaithful to my principles. I cannot be silent. I cannot pretend to be okay.
I have written this post over and over again, swinging wildly in tone. I cannot hear anything else but these words pounding in my soul. So I will write once more; I will lay my soul bare in the hopes that maybe then I can move forward.
Freedom of speech is a glorious right and I ask the indulgence of everyone who disagrees with my position. Let me speak here, put down why I feel what I feel and as strongly as I do. I have and will continue to listen with respect to those who do not believe the same as me. I can only ask for the same.

I am in mourning. Every day since the election, I awaken feeling sick with dread.

I did not vote for Hillary Clinton because I particularly liked her and I do not pretend that she has never made mistakes. No, I voted for her because her platforms aligned with my values far better than Donald Trump’s.
In particular, I voted for clean energy initiatives, preservation of the environment, and the reduction of our society’s dependence on fossil fuels. I voted for the continued existence of the Affordable Care Act. I do not deny its flaws, but I will not leave unsaid what a great blessing it has been to my family. The Affordable Care Act has granted healthcare insurance to many Americans that were denied before, including those with autism and other developmental disorders. I voted for the equal rights and treatment of all God’s children, no matter where they were born, no matter what color their skin. No matter if they are Muslim, or even just from the Middle-East. Not every Muslim is ISIL. In particular, I voted for compassion on behalf of immigrants and refugees from tyranny. I voted for respect in the treatment of women and the marginalized, especially those who are LGBT. No matter what you believe about the spectrum of human sexuality and gender identity, I believe that we cannot forget that they are people too. I cannot believe that Jesus, who ate with the sinners, smiles upon those who treat anyone with hate.
And I voted against Trump in solidarity and support for all victims of sexual violence and harassment who have said that his mannerisms and attitude give them flash-backs to the worst moments of their lives. I voted against him so that young boys would know for absolute certain that sexual intimidation is not how to be a real man.
In short, I voted for the planet and all the peoples upon it, children of the most high God.

And then I watched as my nation elected the man who does not share my deeply-held values, a man who ran a campaign based on fear. A man who seems more interested in building walls than bridges; a man who seems to care more for the short-term bottom line than in the future of this beautiful, fragile planet.
A man who seems to care more for white male privilege than he does for the Golden Rule.
I am in mourning. I am not okay.

There is a poem I have been quoting to myself ever since the results were called. That’s me, a writer and reader seeking comfort in the written word.
I will quote it now, for all the marginalized and all those who also feel sick with dread for their future. In the words of Edna St. Vincent Millay in her poem Dirge Without Music:
I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

I do not approve. And I am not resigned. To all the marginalized, to all who fear for their safety in this current climate of fear, I say this:
You are not forgotten and you are not alone. Not so long as I live and write.

The next major election is in two years. I will vote then as I voted this year, for the preservation of the environment and for the dignity of all people. In the meantime, I dedicate myself to those values. I further vow not to give in to hate and despair—I will not give anyone excuse to dismiss my words and opinions because I lost control of the passion and pain churning within me.
I will follow the example of my president and my presiding Bishop, Barack Obama and Michael Curry. I will make my protests in peace.
I serve Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace and I uphold His Golden Rule and His gospel of mercy and love.
May God bless everyone.

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Categories: ordinary life | 1 Comment

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One thought on “The words I must say

  1. Pingback: A Conversation With a Republican – The Writings of Hannah Hedges

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