So Donald Trump strung enough victories together state by state to win the necessary 270 electors to become our nations 45th President. We all know by now that the election was close and in fact, Mrs. Clinton will carry the popular vote by somewhere north of 500,000 votes. For the second time in 16 years, we have a new President that did not win the popular vote. By the way, that's the way it works. Everyone who signs up for this gig by putting themselves out there as a Presidential candidate knows the rules up front. If the campaign was difficult, the coming days may be difficult in some places as evidenced by the demonstrations that have been filled with anarchy, vandalism and violence. What is incredibly under-reported is that not every one feels this way and the great majority will not act this way. I am buoyed by the graciousness in defeat of Mrs. Clinton and the vast majority of her supporters, some of them family members and friends. I am also buoyed that President-elect Trump has set a proper tone in victory. I trust that among his many supporters are none who are given to gloating and a lack of charity in victory. We also should follow the lead of President Obama who clearly is putting country ahead of personal feelings. He too has been most gracious since election night.
As for me, who has expressed here on this blog my angst with this whole election process, my disappointment in the choice of candidates and the tenor and tone of the campaign, I now need to answer personally, now what? What am I committed to do now that the election is over?
Since my "being" includes that of an ordained member of the Catholic clergy, I consider my office as Permanent Deacon in my answer to my own question. I personally commit to being a better me and to continue to honor and respect others as God calls us to do all the time. I am aware that possibly half of the people I encounter and interact with voted for Trump and half voted for Clinton. There will be equal measures of dignity and respect for all.
Since I am staunchly Pro-Life, I will watch carefully for movement toward eliminating Roe v Wade. As difficult as this will be, it is a worthy battle to fight. I will support all efforts to rid this nation of Planned Parenthood, a full-time front as a "women's clinic" and nothing more than the most prolific baby killing factory in our nation. I will be more vocally Pro-Life in my life and my ministry as a Deacon. And being Pro-Life means never victimizing women who feel the need to end the life of another, they must be prayed for and supported in any and all attempts to keep the baby. I will learn more about projects like Rachel's Vineyard and adoption programs. Since I am staunchly Pro-Life, I will be a voice for ending the death penalty. No, I do not weight the death penalty equally as abortion, I get the differences. That, however, does not change my commitment to end this practice that St. Pope JPII said should never be needed in a great nation such as ours. I will watch the Trump administration closely on this one and double my advocacy for an end of the death penalty. I will also be a voice and a worker in the vineyard that the poor be protected and helped appropriately, not forgetting my personal role and that of the church in caring for the "least of my brethren". That reminds me that I must fight for the religious liberty of the Church to be able to fully and completely carry on it's ministries and teachings without undue influence and restriction from the government.
Now that the election is over, and because I am a Permanent Deacon in the Catholic Church, I will recommit myself to honoring marriage as one man, one woman in a covenant with God that is always open to children. I will work to explain the wisdom of the Church's teaching and will work equally hard to respect the dignity of all peoples with same-sex attraction. But for this Catholic Deacon, I fully support the Biblical and Traditional teaching on marriage. I will walk more closely with every couple I prepare for marriage and try harder that my own marriage to Wendy, about to be 40 years strong, serve as a Christian witness to others.
I recommit myself to my own prison ministry and to advocate for the inmate among people of faith and goodwill. I hope to help others understand what this means in the context that these are people who have been convicted of a crime but still deserve a chance to deepen or develop a relationship with God while being treated with dignity and respect.
I will recommit to a prayer life that includes the Divine Office for the universal Church and to always pray for those who ask prayers of me. When praying for our nation I will pray for our President and our legislators. I will also pray for those who stand in opposition to the rule of law and advocate for those positions that defy the Church and the common good. I will also commit myself to living life everyday as a living prayer. Treat everyone with dignity and respect, be kind more often and be nice. This will require that I grow in the virtue of patience. I will read my Bible more and live a life informed by Holy Scripture.
At a personal level, I will try to be an example of enthusiasm and hopefulness. I must work harder to not give in to a spirt of despair. And I will work harder to be a witness to the inherent good in this nation and in each one of us.
The election is over, we must come together. It will start with each one of us individually and I know it must start with me. Let's get started then, right here, right now!