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First Things, December 2016

December 2, 2016

First Church members are reeling from a difficult election.  We’ve already created several opportunities for people to share their feelings and offer support to each other.  Some of us are also thinking about actions we can take to resist hurtful policies and protect the vulnerable populations we care about.

At this early point after the election any feeling you have is OK.  It’s OK to be angry, or depressed, or disappointed, or fearful.  And it’s OK to feel nothing in particular.

Many people experienced the election of Donald Trump as a traumatic event.  It’s healthy to acknowledge the pain and shock.  Eventually, healing requires moving away from negative emotions, but you don’t have to do that immediately.

When you feel ready, I recommend that you respond to the election with what I call, “the middle way.”  The middle way embraces reality and avoids the extreme reactions of unfounded optimism or paranoia.  We shouldn’t pretend that there will be no negative consequences of this election, but we should also avoid frightening ourselves with visions of the apocalypse.

Part of embracing reality is celebrating the many positive results of the election in Los Angeles and California.  Housing, public transportation, criminal justice, the environment were all beneficiaries of the election.  Get involved with strong justice organizations like First Church and JUUstice-LA to be part of that work.

At the Federal level the reality is that we really don’t know what policies will be proposed next year or what legislation will be enacted.  Let’s save our spiritual energy for the real work that will come when it comes.

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