The varied responses to the U.S. presidential election are something United Methodist Christians must not ignore. And now, more than ever, we need to talk about what it means to be a follower the Prince of Peace at a time of ideological and cultural conflict.
Wondering how the California propositoins fared on election day? Check it out here at the California Secretary of State’s website.
The following page is under construction! Send you own suggestions!
Have you seen articles you think would help fellow members at Claremont UMC respond to the recent elections? You can share links to them with Jim Dwyer, who will add them to the list below if they meet critieria appropritate for the website. If you have articles not accessible online or your own reflections, they should be submitted in electronic form for consideraton to be publsihed here.
Van Jones discusses constructive disagreement with Trevor Noah
Sojourners asks the key question for Chrisitians post-election:
• Read Bishop Grant Hagiya's Statement on the 2016 Election — also available through our links to CalPacUMC newsletters. Bishop Hagiya is our bishop in the Los Angeles Area and the California-Pacific Annual Conference.
• Read Bishop Minerva Carcaño’s Statement on the 2016 Election. Bishop Carcaño is now bishop of the California Nevada Annual Conference.
• Read this post-election plea for action from the Hispanic/Latino Ministries group to the North Carolina Conference of th the United Methodist Church
Here an excerpt:
“In our baptismal vows, we accepted ‘the freedom and power God gives [us] to resist evil, injustice, and oppression,’ and to be in union with those of all ages, nations, races and ethnicities. Therefore, we urge you to take seriously and not ignore that our nation’s recent election may have serious consequences for Hispanic-Latino/a communities, women, and other marginalized groups.”
• What did happen in North Carolina?
“A few hundred people walked out of a North Carolina youth event during a session dealing with pain and racism felt by young Hispanic-Latinos, who had earlier been victims of intimidation, conference officials said.
“The Rev. Edgar Vergara, chairman of Hispanic Latino Ministries for the North Carolina Conference, said young people wearing “Make America Great Again” hats in support of President-elect Donald Trump had harassed the youth during the event. ‘They have carried out hostile actions and contempt for our young people. … We are concerned and disappointed by this situation,’ Vergara said.”
“We Stand Up and We Fight Back”
Senator Elizabeth Warren and Rachel Maddow discuss what to do after the election, e.g., standing up for Moslem neighbors, volunteering for the cause most important to you, strengthening our institutions of civil solidarity. See the list of groups at the foot of this page for some suggestions for volunteering for greater civility.
Shared with us by Cathy Osman, CUMC member
‘Parks and Recreation’: Leslie Knope Writes Letter to America Following Donald Trump’s Victory
(The following is a letter from Leslie Knope, who works for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Midwest Branch, in her hometown of Pawnee, Indiana. She believes that optimism defeats pessimism, and asks that if you have the means, you kindly make a donation to the ACLU, the International Rescue Committee, or the charity of your choice, to help the country and those most in need.)
Amidst the confusion, and despair, and disbelief, it was suggested to me by a very close friend of mine (I won’t say her name, to protect her identity) (Ann. It was Ann) that perhaps a few people would enjoy hearing my thoughts on this election. So I sat down at my computer, cleared my head, and opened a document. Then I started crying. So I had some hot chocolate, and my close friend (Ann) rubbed my back for a while, and I got myself together, and sat down. And started crying. Then more Ann comforting me, and more hot chocolate, and back and forth like that for about six hours or so, the chain of hot-chocolate-and-back-rubs only interrupted briefly when I had to run to the store for more hot chocolate packets (“Just give me all of them, all the boxes,” I remember saying, through tears, to a very scared stockroom boy) and now I am ready to go.
When I was in fourth grade, my teacher Mrs. Kolphner taught us a social studies lesson. The seventeen students in our class were introduced to two fictional candidates: a smart if slightly bookish-looking cartoon tortoise named Greenie, and a cool-looking jaguar named Speedy. Rick Dissellio read a speech from Speedy, in which he promised that if elected he would end school early, have extra recess, and provide endless lunches of chocolate pizzandy. (A local Pawnee delicacy at the time — deep fried pizza where the crust was candy bars.) Then I read a speech from Greenie, who promised to go slow and steady, think about the problems of our school, and try her best to solve them in a way that would benefit the most people. Then Mrs. Kolphner had us vote on who should be Class President.
I think you know where this is going.
Except you don’t, because before we voted, Greg Laresque asked if he could nominate a third candidate, and Mrs. Kolphner said “Sure! The essence of democracy is that everyone—” and Greg cut her off and said “I nominate a T. rex named Dr. Farts who wears sunglasses and plays the saxophone, and his plan is to fart as much as possible and eat all the teachers,” and everyone laughed, and before Mrs. Kolphner could blink, Dr. Farts the T. rex had been elected President of Pawnee Elementary School in a 1984 Reagan-esque landslide, with my one vote for Greenie the Tortoise playing the role of “Minnesota.”
After class I was inconsolable. Once all the other kids left, Mrs. Kolphner came over and put her arm around me. She told me I had done a great job advocating for Greenie the Tortoise. Through tears I remember saying, “How good, exactly?” and she said “Very very good,” and I said, “Good enough to—?” and she sighed and went to her desk to get one of the silver stars she gave out to kids who did a good job on something, and as I tearfully added it to my Silver Star Diary she asked me what upset me the most.
“Greenie was the better candidate,” I said. “Greenie should have won.”
“I suppose that was the point of the lesson,” I said.
“Oh no,” she said. “The point of the lesson is: people are unpredictable, and democracy is insane.” Winston Churchill once said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except all those other forms that have been tried.” That is perhaps a pithier and better way to get my point across, than that long anecdote about Mrs. Kolphner. Should I just erase all of that and start with this? Whatever. I’m pot-committed now, and is there extra caffeine in that hot chocolate? Because my head feels like a spaceship. The point is: people making their own decisions is, on balance, better than an autocrat making decisions for them. It’s just that sometimes those decisions are bad, or self-defeating, or maddening, and a day where you get dressed up in your best victory pantsuit and spend an ungodly amount of money decorating your house with American flags and custom-made cardboard-cutouts of suffragettes in anticipation of a glass-ceiling-shattering historical milestone ends with you getting (metaphorically) eaten by a giant farting T. Rex
Like most people, I deal with tragedy by processing the five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. My denial over the election results was intense. My anger was (in Ron’s words) “significant.” My bargaining was short, but creative — I offered my soul and the souls of all of my friends in exchange for 60,000 more votes in Milwaukee, to any demon who cared to accept. (Tom told me it was a terrible deal, but I didn’t care, in that moment.) My depression I have already mentioned. Which brings us to Acceptance. And here’s what I stand on that: No. I do not accept it.
I acknowledge that Donald Trump is the President. I understand, intellectually, that he won the election. But I do not accept that our country has descended into the hatred-swirled slop pile that he lives in. I reject out of hand the notion that we have thrown up our hands and succumbed to racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and crypto-fascism. I do not accept that. I reject that. I fight that. Today, and tomorrow, and every day until the next election, I reject and fight that story. I work hard and I form ideas and I meet and talk to other people who feel like me, and we sit down and drink hot chocolate (I have plenty) and we plan. We plan like mofos. We figure out how to fight back, and do good in this infuriating world that constantly wants to bend toward the bad. And we will be kind to each other, and supportive of each other’s ideas, and we will do literally anything but accept this as our fate. And let me say something to the young girls who are reading this. Hi, girls. On behalf of the grown-ups of America who care about you and your futures, I am awfully sorry about how miserably we screwed this up. We elected a giant farting T. rex who does not like you, or care about you, or think about you, unless he is scanning your bodies with his creepy T. rex eyes, or trying to physically grab you like a toy his daddy got him (or would have, if his daddy had loved him). (Sorry, that was a low blow.) (Actually, not sorry, I’m pissed, and I’m on a roll, so zip it, super-ego!) Our President-Elect is everything you should abhor, and fear, in a male role model. He has spent his life telling you, and girls and women like you, that your lives are valueless except as sexual objects. He has demeaned you, and belittled you, and put you in a little box to be looked at and not heard. It is your job, and the job of girls and women like you, to bust out.
You are going to run this country, and this world, very soon. So you will not listen to this man, or the 75-year-old, doughy-faced, gray-haired nightmare men like him, when they try to tell you where to stand or how to behave or what you can and cannot do with your own bodies, or what you should or should not think with your own minds. You will not be cowed or discouraged by his stream of retrogressive babble. You won’t have time to be cowed, because you will be too busy working and learning and communing with other girls and women like you, and when the time comes you will effortlessly flick away his miserable, petty misogynistic worldview like a fly on your picnic potato salad.
He is the present, sadly, but he is not the future. You are the future. Your strength is a million times his. Your power is a billion times his. We will acknowledge this result, but we will not accept it. We will overcome it, and we will defeat it.
Now find your team, and get to work.
(“Parks and Recreation” is streaming now on Netflix. This piece was written by a member of the Parks and Recreation writing staff.)
Henry Jefferson shared the following reflection from Molly Baskette, UCC Pastor in Berlkeley
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Molly Baskette is Senior Minister of the First Church of Berkeley, California, and the author of the best-selling Real Good Church and Standing Naked Before God
November 12, 2016
Under the shadow of your throne
Your saints have dwelt secure
Sufficient is your arm alone
And our defense is sure.
"O God, Our Help in Ages Past"
The night after the election, as people all over America sorted out their very different feelings about the outcome, I gathered in our chapel with a couple dozen church members to eat homemade soup (aka first line pastoral care) and sing hymns. We were, universally: shaken, grieving, angry and frightened: not just for ourselves, but for the many vulnerable people who we feared would suffer even more under the new regime, if even a fraction of our president-elect's campaign promises came true.
We opened with the hymn above--and critiqued it after we sang it. How could we sing without irony that "our defense is sure" when already that day hundreds of stories of copycat harassment and physical attacks were popping up? Some of the reports included: a Muslim woman on the street had her hijab ripped off, and was told to strangle herself with it. Dozens of boys reportedly grabbed girls' vaginas in the hall at school, saying "if the President can do it, so can I." Swastikas were painted in school bathrooms and on billboards. Students and adults, in many different parts of the country, yelled at Latinos to "go home to Mexico, we're getting that wall now." The N word and gay slurs enjoyed a fine resurgence, spat hatefully at shocked strangers.
The truth is, our defense is anything but sure. God does not promise us safety. What God does, is invite us into the safety of each other, if we will accept the challenge and call. There is a movement afoot to invite those who want to be allies in public places to wear a safety pin clearly and visibly wherever they go. And if you want to help people in danger even more practically, here's a meme, which I've tweaked a la UCC:
• If you wear a hijab, I'll sit with you on the train.
• If you're trans, I'll go to the bathroom with you.
• If you're a person of color, I'll stand with you if the cops stop you.
• If you're a person with disabilities, I'll hand you my megaphone.
• If you're an immigrant, I'll help you find resources.
• If you're a survivor, I'll believe you.
• If you're a refugee, I'll make sure you're welcome.
• If you're a veteran, I'll take up your fight.
• If you're LGBTQ, I'll remind you that you are beautiful and beloved, just as God made you.
• If you're a woman, I'll make sure you get home ok.
• If you're tired, me too.
• If you need a hug, I've got an infinite supply.
• If you need me, I'll be with you. All I ask is that you be with me, too. Together, we'll be the strong arm of God.
God, divided, we are so vulnerable. Together, we make your defense real and visible and durable. Give us courage to stand up for one another. Amen
A message from Senator-Elect Kamala Harris
Subject: No despair
Date: November 9, 2016 at 14:21:43 PST
After nearly two years of hard work and dedication, I am proud to tell you that we won our election last night. I am humbled and honored to serve you and the people of California in the U.S. Senate.
There is so much to be grateful for in the results coming from our beautiful and diverse state, but it is clear that the cause of justice and equality has never been more urgent.
I know the way many of you are feeling in this moment. The only thing I can say is this: we must not and we cannot despair. We must not be overwhelmed in our national loss—or focus only on our victory here in California. We cannot throw up our hands at a time that requires all of us to roll up our sleeves.
We can either retreat or we can fight. I intend to FIGHT for who we are. I hope you join me.
I intend to fight for a state that has the largest number of immigrants, both documented and undocumented. We must bring them justice and dignity and fairness through comprehensive immigration reform.
I intend to fight for Black Lives Matter and to ensure truth, transparency, and trust in our criminal justice system.
I intend to fight for a woman’s access to health care and reproductive rights.
I intend to fight against those naysayers who suggest there is no such thing as climate change. Now is the time to intensify the fight for our environment, not abandon it. Our children’s future literally depends on it.
I intend to fight for the civil rights of all people, because no one should be denied housing, employment or the right to marry the person they love.
I intend to fight for our students and invest in them. We cannot let them graduate with devastating amounts of debt. Education is the only path to success, we must solve the student loan debt crisis.
I intend to fight for commonsense gun safety because it’s the right thing to do. I have not forgotten the lives that were lost in San Bernardino, Sandy Hook, or the tragic attack on my friend, Gabby Giffords.
So James, here’s the deal: our ideals are at stake right now and we will have to fight for who we are. This is a pivotal moment in the history of America.
I believe it is an inflection point—similar to the time and place when my parents met and were active in the Civil Rights Movement. I believe this is a moment in time when many of us must look in the mirror with furrowed brow and ask ourselves: who are we?
I believe that answer is a good one. We are a great country. Imperfect, but great because of our values, ideals, and diversity. One presidential election cannot erase that.
It is important to remember what Coretta Scott King taught us. That the fight for civil rights—the fight for justice and equality—must be fought and won with each generation. It is the very nature of this fight that whatever gains we make, they will not be permanent.
The same is true of our opponents. The gains they have made in this election are not permanent. That is why we must come together right now—not despair—and fight for who we are and the country we want to be. Thank you for everything you have done in this election. I am humbled by the fact that we would not be here without you.
This campaign for Senate has ended, but the work is just beginning. Please stay involved. Please own a piece of the next four years and help us fight for the future of this country. Together, we can do this.
• Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE) Responds to Trump Appointment of Bannon.
• NAACP and Partners Defend Civil Rights against New Threats.
• Southern Poverty Law Center tracks growth in Hate Crimes Following Election, “Alt-Right” White Racism in Trump Appointments.
• Keep informed on daily developmennts at Moyers and Company.
• Campaign for America’s Future offers an analysis of future public policy issues from a progressive perspective.
• League of Women Voters has been fighting for voters’ rights since 1920.
• Union of Concerned Scientists Standing Strong for Science and Democracy
• People for the American Way monitors U.S. political situaion.
From the “Founding Mission Statement” : “PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY WAS FOUNDED IN 1981 BY NORMAN LEAR, BARBARA JORDAN, FATHER THEODORE HESBURGH, AND ANDREW HEISKELL. THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT OF PURPOSE WAS ADOPTED BY THE FOUNDERS AND OTHER CIVIC, RELIGIOUS, AND BUSINESS LEADERS WHO COMPRISED THE INITIAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS.
In times of hardship, in times of crises, societies throughout history have experienced wrenching dislocations in their fundamental values and beliefs. We are alarmed that some of the current voices of stridency and division may replace those of reason and unity. If these voices continue unchallenged, the results will be predictable: a rise in "demonology" and hostility, a breakdown in community and social spirit, a deterioration of free and open dialogue, and the temptation to grasp at simplistic solutions for complex problems.…”
• Faithful America Motto: “Love thy neighbor. No Exceptions.”
From their “about” page: “Faithful America is the largest and fastest-growing online community of Christians putting faith into action for social justice. Our members are sick of sitting by quietly while Jesus' message of good news is hijacked by the religious right to serve a hateful political agenda. We're organizing the faithful to challenge such extremism and renew the church's prophetic role in building a more free and just society.”