The Election and Your Unease
Leah | Nov 11, 2016

There is still a lot of uncertainty, to say the least, about what a Donald Trump presidency will mean. As you may have read in my newsletter column, there is danger in a single story. So it’s important to let your child know that you and they still have agency, that people with your viewpoint have been protesting and speaking out under the Obama presidency and that you’ll continue practicing your Unitarian Universalist values under the Trump administration, just as would if Hillary Clinton had been elected.

It may also be helpful to talk to your child about our government’s checks and balances and the significance of a very close vote. There’s more on this in the Chicago Tribune article – Soothing Your Kids Fears About a Donald Trump Presidency

I’ve encouraged our Religious Education volunteers to leave time and space in their sessions this Sunday morning for children to express their feelings about the elections. I’ve heard from children and youth in our congregation that they are deeply disappointed that Hillary Clinton was not elected.  And it may also be that some children and youth appreciate Donald Trump’s message about a revolution to empower poor people or to create safety through law and order. And that is ok too. We all need to be able to make connections and listen to others. Certainly in our Religious Education program children need to be able to talk about what they are feeling and how their ideas relate to our Unitarian Universalist values. 

Let me be clear that among our Unitarian Universalist values are tolerance, inclusion and reason. Everyone is welcome, but not all stances are tolerated. Promoting bigotry, hatred and oppression is not tolerated.

Here are resources I shared with the Religious Education volunteers to help them respond to children this Sunday.  Parents and other adults who care for children and youth might also find these helpful.

These articles give adults ways to reassure children and youth about the situation we are all facing with integrity and honesty. Let us be mindful of placating our children and ourselves as a way to deal with our feelings of unease about the election outcome. Saundra M Troy-Ward posted on Face Book

People with all the privileges keep saying

“It’ll be OK! “
“It is what it is now! “
“Oh well, better luck in 4 years”
“*joke about moving to Canada*”
“He’s our president now it’s time to accept it”

All my friends without those same privileges :

“Will my marriage stay legal? “
“Are we safe?”
“What’s going to happen to my Healthcare? “
“Are we safe?”
“Will my trans child be safe at school? “
“Will this increase the militarization of the police in my predominantly black community? “
“Are we safe? “
“Will Roe vs Wade be overturned? “
“Am I safe?”

If you tell people to accept this and move on – your privilege is showing.

So let those of us with privilege not brush away our feelings of unease. Those feelings are calling to us to address our need to live our values. Now is the time to find ways to make your voice heard; gather in communities that support your values, cultivate your spirituality to develop inner strength to be brave.

As I’ve said to the Religious Education volunteers, our Unitarian Universalist values call us to respond with love. Let all our actions be responses grounded in love – love for ourselves, love for our neighbors, love for the interdependent web of life of which we are all a part.

In faith,

Leah Purcell

Director of Religious Education