last wednesday morning i woke to find that what i feared when i went to sleep the night before was indeed a reality: donald trump had been elected the 45th president of the united states. when tuesday evening's election results began coming in, i was optimistic that hillary clinton would be victorious, as reports of her carrying most of the northeast and illinois countered trump's early wins in the southeast. all of this was consistent with what the polls had predicted, and i was confident that the democratic candidate would carry the west cost, colorado, new mexico, and all the "rust belt" states around the great lakes except ohio. some of that proved to be the case, but when i finally went to sleep shortly after midnight, trump was leading in wisconsin, michigan, pennsylvania, and new hampshire. i knew that it was likely that the unthinkable, seemingly impossible, victory of demagoguery was probable, but i hoped against hope that some sudden surge of uncounted votes would swing the election away from trump.
on that wednesday morning, i was fearful for the millions of undocumented aliens in our country. when trump is inaugurated, will a huge "deportation force" begin rounding them up and loading them on trains and planes for mexico, breaking up families and disrupting their lives and the economy in the process? will trump be able to dismantle the affordable care act, leaving millions of americans in a healthcare limbo, with lost insurance coverage in the middle of treatments for major illnesses? will the senate begin considering a replacement for justice scalia who will move the supreme court to the right and undo the decisions protecting the rights of women and extending marriage equality to all our people? will we break trade agreements and mutual defense pacts with our allies, throwing the world into greater chaos? will laws protecting the environment be repealed or gutted? will international treaties to reverse the damages of climate change be abrogated? will the rights of workers be diminished?
i am very afraid, and my heart aches for all those who will suffer if the agenda trump has promised is enacted. what can i do in the face of the fascism that seems to have taken over our country? will republicans in congress who opposed trump have the courage of their convictions and come to the aid of those who will be hurt by trump's policies, or will they celebrate a partisan victory while throwing millions of the residents of our country under the bus? will democrats find a way to work with moderate republicans to prevent the worst aspects of the new president's policies from becoming law, or will have four years of legislative gridlock?
so many questions, so much angst, such a feeling of powerlessness. may we come to our senses. may we be filled with compassion rather than anger. may wisdom prevail. may we reach out to those whose anger propelled mr. trump into office and see their humanity, even as we demonstrate lovingkindness for those against whom their anger was directed. shalom.