Tremendous numbers of my friends (including Facebook friends) are thrilled at the outcome of the Presidential election. And I am, too. And then, some people are very very unhappy. Devastated, even. People I love.
I thought and prayed long and hard about my vote, and came to the conclusion that I have to vote my heart, my faith, my core beliefs. A few days before the election I started reading What's the Matter with White People: Why We Long for a Golden Age That Never Was by Joan Walsh. I'm not done with it yet, but it was compelling: Walsh traces her liberal Democratic outlook and beliefs to what she learned fro her father, a first-generation American Irish Catholic who managed to get a college education by training for the priesthood (a path on which he obviously did not continue).
I recognized myself in her instinctive knowledge of which was the right political way for her to follow. And in the bewilderment she felt about how others could disagree so sharply with what seemed clearly right to her.
(However...my father is a conservative from way back, and my mom has become more of one over the years, so I didn't learn my beliefs from them...I'm not sure exactly where they started. I know how they grew and ripened, but that's another story.)
I believe that I am an empath (you can read more about this at this About.com article). Here's what particularly resonates for me from the article:
Empaths have a tendency to openly feel what is outside of them more so
than what is inside of them. This can cause empaths to ignore their own
needs. In general an empath is non-violent, non-aggressive and leans
more towards being the peacemaker. Any area filled with disharmony
creates an uncomfortable feeling in an empath. If they find themselves
in the middle of a confrontation, they will endeavor to settle the
situation as quickly as possible, if not avoid it all together. If any
harsh words are expressed in defending themselves, they will likely
resent their lack of self-control, and have a preference to peacefully
resolve the problem quickly.
Empaths are sensitive to TV, videos, movies, news and broadcasts. Violence or emotional dramas depicting shocking scenes of physical or emotional pain inflicted on adults, children or animals can bring an empath easily to tears. At times, they may feel physically ill or choke back the tears. Some empaths will struggle to comprehend any such cruelty, and will have grave difficulty in expressing themselves in the face of another's ignorance, closed-mindedness and obvious lack of compassion. They simply cannot justify the suffering they feel and see.
This is definitely not meant to suggest that I am special, but I am different from a lot of folks. The pain I'm witnessing is dreadful, and it tempers my joy in my belief that the right path was taken. I keep thinking of how the large majority of my friends would feel if this election had gone the other way. I remember it from 2000 and 2004.
I can't stand the division in our country (but I will have to). I ask for your prayers for all of us...particularly those who are hurting over this outcome.