This morning, after I dropped Sebastian off at daycare, I cried as I walked to the car, thinking of him and of the other toddlers eating their oatmeal and blueberries. There's he Muslim girl whom Sebastian seems sweet on at the moment, the Jewish boy, the girl from Southeast Asia, plus the African-American boy and Indian boy who are gone right now, but were still in my mind. His daycare room represents the rich diversity of American life.
At least my American life. I find it strange in 2016 that this is not most American's life, so this entire campaign I was puzzled by the widespread attraction to a candidate who spoke ill of various racial, ethnic, and religious groups.
Why are so many people (fortunately not a majority of voters, as we learned today) willing to support exclusion? What concerns them? Are they anxious or afraid? I don't comprehend it. My multicultural experiences have only enriched my life.
Today my thoughts roamed to many dear friends and colleagues. The rabbi I stood beside as her synagogue was protested by Westboro Baptist Church. The Vedic priestess who invited Michael and I to a special blessing as we departed Oklahoma City. The Council on American-Islamic Relations leader always willing to show up for support of LGBT rights. The Buddhist who performed the legal marriage ceremony for me and Michael. The immigrant from Zimbabwe who is in our home twice a month. The Liberian children I baptized in December. The Burmese refugees our congregation has welcomed to America. The Trans slam poet police officer who taught me a lot. These and many, many more.
I thought of the diversity of my own family. My Filipino mother-in-law. Our Filipin0-Chinese niece. My Chinese step-cousins. My son who is of Mexican descent.
And knowing how this diversity has enriched my life, I was moved to further sadness watching so many friends express their fear today. Fear for their own physical safety. Fear for their civil rights. Fear for their children's safety and futures. The HIV positive friends afraid they will lose their health insurance and ultimately their lives if the ACA is repealed.
In the lunch with social workers, one shared the fear of the children and families she works with, families of color. A ministry colleague said this campaign had reminded her of all the times men had behaved sexually aggressive towards her, that she started keeping a list as she remembered, and the list has grown to a page long. The Muslim friend for whom the campaign resurfaced the trauma of her rape. The former youth from my church who shared publicly about her sexual assault to explain why the president-designate was unacceptable to her.
To me the beauty of America is its rich diversity. And I cannot fathom why this is not so for others. So, if you do not have a rich, diverse tapestry of friends and family, please seek that out. And know firsthand from someone who does, that this America is not to be feared, but to be welcomed, embraced, and enjoyed.