What I saw at the Reformation


Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.

German monk and priest, leader of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther, was born on this day in 1483 (died 1546).

The political world is still reeling from the results of Tuesday’s election. Face it, most of us drug through yesterday with a heavy reliance on caffeine (or perhaps other stimulants if you voted on the west coast). They could have called it sooner. I’m just saying.

To my friends on the left who are hurting, particularly those in the theatre and the LGBTQ community I just want to give a hug and some of Madame Pomfrey’s chocolate, because it makes things better.

I understand why they’re scared. I understand why they’re distraught. I would like to tell them that they don’t need to be. I really don’t think they do, but that’s coming from my perspective, not theirs, and it’s not what they need to hear right now. They need encouragement. They need hugs.

And chocolate. Don’t forget the chocolate.

It doesn’t help for me to tell them that their fears are based on a lot of heated campaign rhetoric, that they were misled by pundits, and pollsters and media into thinking that Hillary was unstoppable.

On a side note, I have been distressed to hear teachers telling of their very young students expressing their fears. What responsible adult has been teaching them that we’re going back to slavery? I know some very unsavory people came out and said that they were supporting Donald Trump but that kind of rhetoric is not the fault of the GOP or Donald Trump.

For the record, if you’ve read here over the course of the primary and the election you will know that I have never defended Trump for things he has said and done, and I have wondered how my fellow Christians could support him. But he is not the demon some on the left have tried to portray him to be.

As for civility, in the last 24-hours on social media, I’ve seen more hatred, more vitriol, more use of the f-word directed at the GOP and Donald Trump than I’ve ever seen from the right. And all across social media last night we were seeing protests, including here in Richmond where some thousand or so, mostly VCU students were walking down the street shouting “F**k Trump.” and “No Justice, No Peace.”

Physician, heal thyself while Obamacare is still around to pay for it.

And listen to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama who both said yesterday to give the man a chance.

I digress. Except to say that I wouldn’t be surprised that this campaign began to turn the day Hillary threw the Deplorables into a basket.

Even so, most of us still thought that Hillary would walk away with this. Even the RNC and the Trump camp did not see his path to victory until well in to the evening.

The people who make bazillions of dollars doing this kind of analysis (feel free to hit the tip jar because you’re getting this for free), and the people who kept us up way too late on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning are better at this than I. Well, except for that not getting the polls right either thing, but this is what I take away from Tuesday’s results.

America wanted change. We’ve just come through an election cycle where the vast majority of Americans wanted neither candidate. Let’s not rehash how we got there. Let’s try to think about how we don’t get there again.

For a while (very early on) it was assumed that the race would be between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. I said way back then I didn’t want either of them if for no other reason than the fact that we have more than two families in this country. The GOP apparently got that message, while on the Democrat side Hillary was always destined to be the nominee. It was her turn.

Except that it wasn’t.

We’ve been through an election cycle where the bull $#%& has been flung far and wide on both sides. We’ve been snookered by fake news sites that we’ve shared on Facebook and elsewhere as fact. We have to stop being so gullible about what we hear and read. Verify before you share.

If you’re not following me let’s just say if you shared one of those videos that said “OMG this video will doom Hillary/Trump/Frank Underwood/Cersei Lannister forever”, you might be the person(s) I’m talking about.

Jesus will not bless you for that. I won’t either.

Donald Trump won fewer votes that Mitt Romney or John McCain, but won a greater percentage of white evangelical voters. The mind. It boggles. To my fellow Christians, don’t get too smug. Go read this passage. [Hosea 13] Just do it.

Hillary Clinton didn’t get the support she needed among women, African-Americans, and Hispanics, far underperforming the numbers of Barack Obama. Trump performed better among African-Americans and Hispanics than Mitt Romney. The fact is that Trump won votes from a lot of people who voted for Barack Obama. In the end, Hillary couldn’t bring home the base. Again, the mind. It boggles.

There’s been much said about the uneducated white male vote and an assumption that a lack of formal education equates with ignorance. If you’ve been pushing that line then you need to drop the crap about the racism and misogyny or pretty much admit that your claims of diversity and equality are a pile of poo. Uneducated does not mean ignorant and if you think it does, then you’re showing your own ignorance.

I mean, after all, consider the fact that 82 members of the House and 16 Senators have a Master’s Degree, 159 members of the House and 54 Senators have law degrees and there are 24 doctoral and 25 medical degrees in Congress. That’s a pretty good indication that advanced degrees aren’t a gurantee that one knows what’s best for the country.

The last President to not have a college degree (at least) was Harry Truman.

What the pollsters failed to see, what the Democrats failed to see, and what the Republicans who lost to Donald Trump in the primary failed to see is that those middle-class, non-college educated, white males feel threatened. Rightly or wrongly, they see their way of life, their means of supporting their family, their freedom eroding from them. They decided not to be ignored.

George Bailey put it this way:

Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you’re talking about… they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community.

Yes, I totally get that Trump could be Potter in the story. At the same time Hillary’s not exactly waiting tables.

The point here is that people were tired of not being heard. Tired of feeling as if they were being overlooked. I suspect Hillary lost some Bernie supporters for just that reason as well.

Tuesday night was a long night. I still believe it could have been called sooner. Perhaps there was some hope that numbers would change. That was evidenced by Clinton’s non-showing at her Election Night party and her supporters being told to go home and go to bed. I will admit that I was nervous she was going to pull an Al Gore and un-concede.

But, not long after that, the numbers solidified for Trump and Clinton made the call to congratulate the President-Elect. She made her concession speech mid-morning on Wednesday. It was heartfelt, gracious, and I’m sure a difficult speech for her to deliver. Maybe she needed the extra time to write the speech she never dreamed she would have to give. Go look it up and watch for yourself. Whether you supported her or not, it’s worth hearing (as are the President’s later remarks).

One strange thing about the speech. The Clintons and the Kaines were all attired in variations of black suits with purple accents. We speculated online about the colors. I thought it was symbolic of the mixture of red and blue states and how a divided country could come together, and some even thought they were suggesting royalty.

Turns out it was one of the primary colors of the Suffrage movement. Probably, unlike the speech, planned for a long time because where do you shop for purple ties and blouses before 9:30 (planned start time) on a Wednesday. Then again, maybe that was the delay.

Whatever the reason, I did also think that the coordination looked a little bit like a Southern Gospel group. After all, Kaine does play a mean harmonica.

Regardless of how your candidate did on Tuesday (mine, also not Hillary, lost) this is not the end of the world. We are the same America that elected Barack Obama. Twice. We may look a little different and prioritize things differently, but in the end we’re the same people.

We’re still friends and neighbors and coworkers. We still see each other at church, at the grocery store, at the gym. Well, at least at church and the grocery store.

Like I’ve always tried to say to the people who share my faith, we know this is not the end of the story. I may have mentioned that yesterday.

They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Revelation 21:3-4

Even so, come Lord Jesus.

No, I’m not being facetious. If you’re a person of faith that’s the outcome you look forward to. Everything else is just filling. Sometimes miserable, miserable filling.

We know how the story ends.

But, for now? Go, have some hope. Plant that tree.

You might have apples by the time we have to go through this again.

Unless you’re in Virginia, in which case we have 362 days before we elect a new Governor.


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    • Beth Dunnavant on November 10, 2016 at 7:32 am

    Perfectly said. I love this.
    If I were posting political things on FB I’d share this. I will share it privately though.

    • Martha Kelley on November 10, 2016 at 11:48 am

    Thanks Mike!

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