An Open Letter to My Anxious Friends about the 2016 Election

Dear friends,

Like most of us, I still haven’t entirely wrapped my mind around what has transpired over the last 24 hours. So what follows are unorganized thoughts — my heart on the page — as I seek to reorient myself toward hope, vision, and empowerment.

I didn’t vote for Trump; I voted for Hillary. When faced between the choice of someone who has spit racist, xenophobic rhetoric for two years coupled with zero talk of reasonable strategy, or someone who has spoken inclusively, hopefully, and with an actual plan, I chose the latter.

Some of you love me for it. Some of you hate me for it. But at the end of the day, we all get to live with President-elect, Donald Trump.

Notice my language there? I said we get to.

I have to frame it that way in order for me to see it as something with… potential. I have to see it that way in order to believe that things aren’t going to be as bad as we’ve been led to believe with him as President. I have to keep some resemblance of hope alive in my own thinking, in my own line-of-sight.

I refuse to speak death over this man because, well, I would hate for that death to manifest itself in his leadership, his influence, and in the way he “directs” our country. Call me naive, but I want to call out the good stuff because I believe there’s good stuff in everybody, even if they don’t realize it themselves (or if nobody else sees it).

But there’s something else I’m brutally aware of this morning, and perhaps this is what I’m struggling with the most in the wake of the 2016 election results

I have responsibility.

I have a responsibility to those pushed aside. Something I am passionate about is standing alongside and speaking out on behalf of the most vulnerable members of our society. The influence of Trump is alarming to many women, refugees, Muslims, members of the black community, LGBTQ community, and scores of other marginalized members in our country. I have a responsibility to them, especially as a Christian (there’s more to say about that another time).

I also have a responsibility to the environment. Climate change is not a hoax! It is a very real problem that doesn’t just affect the United States, but the entire global community. With a Republican controlled House, Senate, and Presidency, the risk of perpetuating environmental issues only escalates. I have to begin taking this issue very seriously — we all do.

And I also believe I have a responsibility to the Church. It can no longer remain an irrelevant institution rotting away on the street corner. It has to become an active, engaged body of people who don’t just pay the gospel lip-service on Sunday, but who manifest its reality powerfully in their lives. More on this later too.

The biggest thing is that I realize my responsibility carries with it a mandate for action. I cannot just sit behind my computer screen and blog. I cannot sit at the bar up the street with my friends and say, “this should change” or “that should change.” And I cannot sit idle thinking thoughts into empty space.

I have to get my hands dirty; I have to put my ideas into action.

I guess what I’m saying is that despite the doom and gloom forecast so many of us have been fixated on, I’m choosing to focus on something a little more hope-filled now. I have to. I’m choosing to focus on the things that I can still influence and change.

But in the meantime, I think it’s okay for you to grieve. I think it’s okay for you to be upset. I think it’s okay to scream and cry and shake your fist to the sky. Honestly, I know that I’m going to have my head down most of the day.

But I also know down deep, my heart and mind are postured a little differently. I’m acutely aware of the responsibility I have and I’m eager to get my hands dirty, to put my ideas into action, and help shape this big and beautiful country we call home.

Many blessings,

Matt

About Matthew Snyder

Matt is a thirty-something writer and young adult minister. He lives in Atlanta with his wife, Merridith, and their dog, Finn.

2 Comments

  1. Yes. Yes. Yes. That’s exactly where I’m at too. But your words sound better than mind. Yes and amen. With you. Lord give us grace to know how…

  2. Thank you for your more balanced response to the election results. However, as a fellow Christian I am confused as to the argument that Hillary was the moral choice to Trump?

    It doesn’t need to be argued that Trump has said terrible things. However, Hillary being so pro abortion (and partial-bith abortion at that), so in the pocket of Wall street and special interests, associating with rappers that say worse things than Trump and accepting donations from foreign governments that oppress women and homosexuals under sharia law I’m just mind boggled how you suppose God would prefer you vote for her?

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