In the News
Washington, D.C.—The election this week of business mogul Donald J. Trump as America’s 45th president left many people stunned and afraid. Although polls had predicted a victory for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, she lost the electoral vote 290 to 232.
In heated campaign rhetoric, Trump had targeted and offended numerous minority groups. His treatment of women also came under fire. Many people, including President Obama, questioned Trump’s fitness to serve as commander in chief.
On Wednesday, thousands of protesters—including high school students—marched against Trump, chanting slogans such as “Not my president” and “Love trumps hate.”
“This is not the vision of the world that I can bear to live in,” said Edita Birnkrant, 39. “The changes that a President Trump said he wants to make are truly terrifying.”
Erin Uttich, 24, said she was protesting because “People need to know that even though the Electoral College chose him, he is not my president.”
Many social media users who’d supported Clinton expressed despair and disgust at the election outcome. Others called for extra doses of love and kindness. College campuses offered students support and safe discussion spaces. Some professors postponed exams, acknowledging students’ shock and fears.
After Trump’s victory, Obama pleaded for unity and inclusion. In Clinton’s concession speech, she said Americans owe Trump “an open mind and a chance to lead.” She urged her young supporters to stay strong amid failure and to remember that “the American dream is big enough for everyone.”
The New York Times editorial board wrote that all Americans can play a role in the healing process, “whether as activists or volunteers, or simply as neighbors who show, through reaching out to someone who looks or worships differently than they do, that they reject bigotry, misogyny and fear.”
Sources: nbcnews.com, usatoday.com, nytimes.com
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Discussion Starters for Student Small Groups
How did you expect the election to turn out, and why? What was election night like for you? What emotions did you experience? What conflicts, if any, occurred among your family and friends?
How would you describe your attitude about politics right now? How would you describe your expectations for the next four years? What fears and hopes do you have for the country? How might Americans be able to pull together after such a divisive campaign?
What’s your reaction to the protests occurring throughout the country? Is that an effective way to voice opinions? Are there more productive ways to create change? Explain.
Do you agree that the American dream is big enough for everyone? should include everyone? What would you say to people in minority groups who are worried about their rights and safety?
In your opinion, do Americans have legitimate reasons to be fearful? Do you think most people will be able to keep an open mind about a Trump presidency? Why or why not? Is it possible to respect someone as a leader when you don’t respect him as a person—or what he’s said in the past?
How might Americans be able to use this election outcome to grow kinder as a country? How can we, on a day-to-day basis, follow Jesus’ disruptive imperative to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us?
Who is most difficult for you to love and pray for? What help do you need from Jesus to do that? What effect does loving your enemy have on you? on that person?
How can you reach out to someone who’s on the other side of the political fence from you? How can you express love and acceptance to someone who’s different from you?
If someone doesn’t know Jesus, should your kindnesses to them always include a presentation of the gospel message? Why or why not? How can your life be the best “sermon” you’ll ever preach?
Scripture links: Luke 6:27-36; Romans 12:9-21; Romans 13:1-7; Colossians 3:12-14; 1 John 3:16-20; and 1 John 4:15-21.