Going home for Thanksgiving after This Election?

It’s an understatement to say white folks were divided this election. So if your family is anything like mine, you’re going to face somebody at your table who voted for our President-elect, maybe because of abortion, or maybe because of their own bank accounts, or they like some things he said, or perhaps, they just ignored other things he said.

And you’re probably steamed, if you are a white person who wants to be in healthy mutually-respectful relationships with the rest of humanity. How do you get ready to go home for the holiday?

I heard some wisdom from an African prayer partner, and then the same story, from a Black preacher-activist I watch online. One time in the Old Testament (or Hebrew Bible), Samuel came to God and was praying his heart out. He was in a lot of pain because he felt that his values were being violated and he felt rejected. I feel my values are being violated, this election cycle. The prophet Samuel was leading God’s people in a certain direction, and the people of God said no, they didn’t want a prophet, they wanted a King. And what God told Samuel was, these people haven’t rejected you, Samuel, they have rejected me. And they will pay the price of having a king – a king will tax them, and send their sons to war, and generally take advantage of them. Then God continued to be at work, with His or Her infinite creativity.

My prayer partner, and the preacher I follow both said, America wanted a king. And so God has given us a king, we’ll learn what it means to have a king…. what a king will cost us.

My thought for you, as you gather with your family for Thanksgiving is this. If you have white family and friends who voted for this political leader – they can’t vote away your values. God is still infinitely creative; still in charge, still redeeming and saving us all. You and I can walk into our dinner conversations with the decision to practice – and speak about – our value of respecting all races, respecting and including immigrants, finding some common ground with people who practice other faiths, and even, perhaps, some compassion for our family members who just voted for the winning candidate.

4 thoughts on “Going home for Thanksgiving after This Election?

  1. Thank you for this. I am struggling with the thought of the conversations I may face with my family this holiday. My husband and I are alone in our lack of support for Trump, and many of my family believe that Trump was the God ordained candidate and have all their arguments in a row to support that. I know nothing I say will change their point of view, but I feel guilty not being a voice against the wind. Am I wrong to not engage with them so I can have a pleasant holiday? I have thought that maybe just leaving the room in a silent protest sort of manner might be better–I love my family but I know we will never agree in this area.

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    1. I think “agree to disagree” is certainly an option, and also, sometimes, we can figure out ways to listen and speak with civility and grace for one another. I like to have a few strategies in hand when I face challenging conversations like political ones with my family
      -maybe I calmly repeat what I hear them say, and ask what they value about that idea?
      -maybe I state my own value in a positive way (I hope people of all races and faiths feel safe in our country)
      A friend of mine said she planned to post a “no politics, please” sign in the middle of her family’s dinner table. My son and I often disagree about politics and I find it interesting to hear him out, and then we discuss our sources and values. Hope you find your way, too.

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