As all of you know, I’m queer. Finally started using that word with a little less fear recently, but yes, that’s what I am. I like the fact that it covers pretty much anyone, and since my partner is bi, I like to be a little more inclusive about the whole thing. Anyway, I thought I had put up something about forgiveness the weekend after the election, but it turns out I had not.
Let me explain where this kind of came from in the first place. Since moving (basically – I’m not technically a resident until 1/1), Sarah and I decided to check out a church in Harrisonburg called RISE. This is a reconciling United Methodist faith community (i.e. those in the LGBT community are welcome and allowed to serve and worship like anyone else). We really love it. The pastor is amazing, the worship is well done, and they are incredibly involved in the community, which is something that I adore.
Anyway, we went to RISE for the first time, the weekend after the election. While my anxiety was through the roof (with my Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome – PTCS – I had some flashbacks of King Street, my old church in Chambersburg), I still got a lot out of it. Amanda, the pastor, is warm and powerful speaker that really gets through to your mind. And she brought forward a message saying that we need love to be the center of how we move forward, no matter what. And in her sermon, she said something that I never thought about.
“I’ve had people say that they voted for Trump, and then asked if they would be safe at RISE. And I said YES.”
Talk about conviction. I had been so angry because I felt that people who voted for Trump were hating my humanity because I’m queer. I was so hurt but then I realized that they deserved safety as much as I did and “they” shouldn’t be “they” because we are all human, dammit. We are all in this together.
I grew up in rural Pennsylvania. I now live in rural Virginia. I’m queer. I know what it’s like to feel disenfranchised. I may not be a racial minority and people may not know that I’m queer until they talk to me or see me walking around with my partner’s hand in mine. But, I know what it’s like to feel like you’re not being watched out for. That’s where I am now, with a President Trump.
But how can I be angry at rural people? I AM rural people. A rural person? Whatever. I understand what it’s like to have to fend for yourself. Communities are tight and we want to know that we’re okay. Do I think that Trump is going to help rural America? I assume not, since the Congress beneath him is already making plans to strip medical assistance and the like. But, he said a lot of empty promises and played the game and I understand what it’s like to want hope because I need it now.
And I can’t be angry at that. So, there’s no longer a “us” and “them.” It’s all of us. There is a humanity. I’m still not okay with the results because I feel like there has been manipulation and the like (and that’s from reading all sorts of sources, I don’t just get my news from one place). I feel like this should be blocked as best as it can.
But if anything, I’m speaking against the government, against Trump and the hateful Republican ideology that seems to permeate his cabinet. I will try to be better about not speaking against anyone on either side.
Bernie (who I will always be behind) said it best, and I will always be with Bernie on matters of democracy now.
“If Mr. Trump has the courage to take on Wall Street, to take on the drug companies, to try to work forward, go forward to create a better life for working people, we will work with him, issue by issue. But if his presidency is going to be about discrimination, if it’s going to be about scapegoating immigrants or scapegoating African-Americans or Muslims, we will oppose him vigorously.”
And that’s where I’m at. I will fight for the right to marry my partner. I will fight to make sure that my friends who are minorities are not treated wrongly. But I will try my darnedest to not go after people anymore, but ideas. Because I want to be known for love.