Here Is What I Know Today

600px-electionmappurplecountyI cannot put together a coherent blog today. Last night and today have been exhausting and draining in ways I certainly did not expect.

But I can offer you a list of things I know today

I know last night the majority of the American people, albeit a slim one, voted for an America that is inclusive, tolerant, supportive…of women, ethnic minorities, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, and economic justice.

I know the only two Republicans to win an open-seat presidential election in the past twenty years failed to win the popular vote.

I know much of the shock, grief, and mourning many of us feel today comes from a sense that while these values are the dominant values of the American people, they somehow are not reflected the outcome of this election.

I know Donald Trump has now overseen the destruction of both political parties…Republicans during the primary season…Democrats with last night’s result.

I know a significant number of people on the right, left, and center are totally OK with that, and pleased to see both parties implode in the way they have.

I know a significant number of Trump supporters on the right and Sanders supporters on the left believe the system is so corrupt that it must be completely dismantled and torn apart.

I knownature abhors a vacuum,” and that I very strongly believe the old adage, “Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.”

I know Paul Ryan’s comments today —that Donald Trump “earned a mandate” to govern last night— neither reflects a popular vote nor electoral college reality, and will not heal our deeply divided nation.

I know his own job as Speaker is now in jeopardy, and so I will continue to pray for him.

I know Republicans, divided as they are, now control all three branches of government, but have a significant intra-party challenge to actually lead with this razor-thin victory they have been handed.

I know this election outcome is so shocking that no one –right, left, or center– really knows what will happens next, and that many feel there is no road map for what is about unfold in our society.

I know sexism is alive and well, as racism has been during Obama’s presidency, and that Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast episode on “Moral Licensing” is deeply important, and if I could force everyone in the world to hear it, I would.

I know a good many of Donald Trump’s supporters do not believe the racist, sexist, islamophobic things that has said in the past; and that they somehow trust he is “joking” or “kidding” when he says these.

I know an entirely different group of Donald Trump’s supporters DO believe these racist, sexist, islamophobic things he has said, and support him because they believe he believes them.

I know his tenure as president will no doubt reveal which of the previous two statements is true –or to what percentage both are– since we have just voted to become a four-year-long sociological petri dish, as Trump’s “real” views grow and are made manifest over time.

I know this election has stirred up the ugliest dregs of American society —hate, sexism, racism bigotry—  latent issues that perhaps some believed were long behind us, that more than ever people of good will on all sides of the aisle shall be called to stand against these things, and that it will take years to do so.

I know those who fashion themselves as “moderates” will be called to speak more plainly and powerfully about their own core values than they ever have before.

I know “moderates” are not prone to doing this, and that their failure to stand for their values will only increase the continuing dissolution of our civic and cultural institutions.

I know in the past few hours, I have received public and private messages from friends —women, LGBTQ friends, Latinos, African Americans— who tell me that they have not only been genuinely saddened, but literally physically sick to their stomachs; and I know that I, as a White man, am called to listen to that suffering.

I know, at the same time, the anger of the “ White male Trump voter” is real; and that even as I don’t share that anger —or feel on the main it has real justification— I know that feelings matter, and that we must find some way to ways to deal with all the angry people in our world today.

I know, for some time now, that I have not seen history as a straight line extending into the future, but that “the past is never really the past,” that we must continue to defend the values we hold dear, and that “progress” moves more like concentric “circles” which bob and weave through time.

I know my Progressive Christian faith has helped me weather every storm in my life, and that it will help to guide me through the coming weeks, months, and years.

I know many others are helped by such a faith, and that if you are feeling alone and hopeless, we’d love to see you at our church.

I know that “faith, hope and love endure, these three,” and that the greatest of these is love.

I know more than ever we live in two Americas, divided not by Republican/Democrat, Religious/Non-Religious, Minority/Majority, or even Urban/Rural; but divided on one-side by our willingness to be loving, tolerant, inclusive, and respectful, and seek social and economic justice…and on the other side by our fear of any, or all, of these things.

I know there are Republicans/Democrats, Minority/Majority, Religious/Non-Religious, Urban/Rural people who desire a more loving, tolerant, inclusive and respectful nation, a more fair and just nation, economically and socially.

I know I end where I begin…that the majority of Americans voted for these values, by a razor thin margin, Tuesday night.

I know a much greater majority of Americans value these things than actually voted in the election.

I know that last statement seems like cold and confusing comfort today, or perhaps even a like a foolish and pointless faith-statement.

I know I will work toward these shared values every day of my life.

I know you’ll do the same.

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He is Senior Pastor of Kessler Park UMC United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. Previously, he was pastor at Northaven UMC in Dallas for seventeen years. Eric loves to write on topics of spirituality, social justice, music/art and politics. The entries on this blog reflect that diversity of interests. His passion for social justice goes beyond mere words. He’s been arrested at the White House, defending immigrants and “The Dreamers,” and he’s officiated at same sex weddings in his churches, in defiance of what some believe is Methodist teaching. Eric is an avid blogger and published author, and 2017 recipient of the prestigeous Kuchling Humanitarian Award from Dallas’ Black Tie Dinner. (Human Rights Campaign) Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He’s a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named “best judge” by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County, and is currently the longest service district judge in that district. She was re-elected for a fourth term in 2018. They have the world’s best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. Find links to Eric’s music-related websites, at the top of this site’s navigation menu.

2 thoughts on “Here Is What I Know Today

  1. Here’s what I know….. . Men still hold the upper hand….and can get by with saying horrible things to and about women. While women are still viewed as second class citizens. How we, as a country could have elected someone so unqualified….yet pass over one of THE most qualified is beyond shocking. The good old (white) boy system is alive and well….

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