Micah, my Kindergarten big boy, loves school and loves being with his classmates. I can see the excitement in his eyes every morning as he watches the clock with his shoes and backpack strapped on while waiting to race out to the bus stop. Yet apart from school being “good” as he usually mutters under his breath in response to my enthusiastic questions of how his day was, his school life is entirely a mystery to me. I really have no idea what goes on within those colorful cement walls, except that recess was fun and that there was pizza for lunch.
The day after election day, however, was different. Micah marched off the bus and before I could say a word or even kiss him hello, he immediately reported to me, “Umma, I have to tell you something. Billy’s mom …she voted for the man. She voted for Trump.”
Then he looked for my reaction.
“Wow,” I thought. “We’re going to talk politics? Literally everyone is in a frenzy over this election, even Kindergarten classes across the United States.”
Billy is Micah’s best friend at school. Micah has talked about Billy since day one. Micah loves Billy. But Micah also loves me. I am his mother, and lately, I have dropped my jaw and quietly shaken my head in disbelief many times in disapproval of Donald Trump. And while Micah has never said a word, I knew he probably saw and heard everything.
Micah also knew I did not vote for Trump. In fact, he was with me when I went to vote and even watched me bubble in my answer at the booth as he peered over my ballot and attempted to understand why it was that I was taking my particular stance. At most, I hoped it would be a lesson on practicing our right to vote, but I thought he was probably more excited about the sticker we got afterwards and the picture we took. I honestly wasn’t really expecting him to think about elections beyond that moment much less understand the gravity of what was happening.
But he did…a little bit anyway. He had no choice because along with the rest of the country, his little kindergarten class was talking about the results of this outrageous election, and EVEN in Kindergarten, there were opinions, there were sides, there was NOISE over the outcome.
When I asked Micah how he felt when he heard about Billy’s mom, he said, “Kinda mad? I tried to tell him he’s not a good man, but he didn’t understand…he said Trump was good… !”
The outcome of this election has taken over every conversation in every room and street corner, and while I know this is quite normal, it is really getting to disturb me. I, too, have deep concerns myself about what Trump may do in office and how he might dare try to handle the sensitive affairs of our nation, but I am actually more concerned at this point about the noise.
I believe things need to be shaken up at times before things can get better–protest, speak out for what’s right, do something for change. But it grieves me to see the division that so often comes from noise that is made thoughtlessly, without consideration, out of anger and revenge, out of hatred, pride, fear even, or thinking you or some opinion is right or better than another.
So many people think Trump will destroy our country, but he may not even get a chance to if we, the people, destroy it first. And it is indeed happening. Slowly, but surely, even in just a few short days, I have seen relationships burn to the ground, mistrust spring up like a field of weeds, and hatred spread like wildfire, all in the name of being right or perhaps supposedly fighting for your own rights.
And while there is no knowing what the future of this country will look like, my heart trembles at the state we are finding ourselves in and I trembled looking down at my five-year-old son because all I knew is that when he was staring up at me for a response as to where I stood (because really, where I stand is where he stands), in his eyes, I saw the entire next generation. I saw a generation of children who will grow to be the leaders of tomorrow looking up at me for an answer as to how they should respond and react in these tense and uncertain times, and I had to be absolutely clear and firm on the point that we always respond and stand in love.
So very quickly and careful not to show a hint of hesitation, I told Micah that it was ok that Billy’s mom voted for Trump and how everyone thinks a different way. We don’t dislike a person for who they voted for because anyways, it is God who ultimately put Trump there and it will be God who will bring us through these next few years. Our job is to continue to love and to pray and to trust God. Then I told Micah that who Billy’s mom voted for changes NOTHING about their friendship and that of COURSE he could and should still be friends with Billy. Because that’s what really matters to Micah and that’s what really matters period. Under every conviction, duty, and call to respond is our number one duty, priority, and responsibility to uphold unity, relationships, and love.
With that, Micah nodded with a little side smirk and said, “I know. I was just saying.”
Then I gave him a hug and we walked the rest of the way home.
I am praying peace and unity over this country. Put down your weapons against each other, your words that bring death, and find a way to bring life and light into this darkening world. If for no one else, for our children who are watching our every move and desperately trying to find which way they should go as they grow to be the next politicians, leaders, or just regular everyday people who will shape this world.
It may be like civil war out there, but we are in fact in the same country and should work together for the greater good. And I’m just glad that even when it is near impossible to choose or be on a “side,” we have one God above us who does not rise and fall as all other leaders do. Rather, in all circumstances, we can place our hope in the Lord who is the King above all Kings.