“I don’t see how you can grow as a world without being able to get along with people. So many people is hating out there and it’s not making a difference.”
– Rodney King
I was placing the nozzle back on the gas pump when the glass door of the convenience store slammed and the bell jingled. “That’s right!” a man yelled, “Pack your bags and go home! There’s a new Sheriff in town!”
Two hispanic men hung their heads in shame and hurried back to their work truck.
It was like something out of a movie. A really bad movie. Only this was real life. I walked into the gas station and saw that the clerk was visibly shaken. I looked around, and everyone seemed to be safe. The two white man paid their bill and the clerk asked the two deplorables to “just leave.” Luckily, they obliged.
When I was in middle school, we used to have “black and white fights”. I haven’t seen another human being attacked because of their race since those days. The memory is scary, dark, and mean. The fights were fueled by ignorance and hate. And this morning was no different. It was like stepping back into the 1950’s.
When the door opened again, the jingle of the bell startled me, and an African American man in a Salvation Army uniform entered. His hair was dusted with gray and he was smiling from ear to ear. Oblivious to what just happened, the jovial black man said with a chuckle, “Well, looks like we’ve got a new President.”
I could see him searching for an audience, for someone to laugh or smile with him. Everything about this man was inviting. I exhaled for the first time in three minutes and said, “Oh my gosh! I guess you’re right.” The gentleman rested his enormous hand on my shoulder and said, “Ha! It’s OK brother. We just got to pray. It’s the only hope we got! We are all going to make it.”
I fear what our nation will become in the years of a Trump Presidency. I pray this nightmare only lasts four years.
I think Trump and his followers believe that in order to make America great again, we must make America white again. I hope President Trump realizes that rednecks aren’t loyal. They can and will turn on him at the drop of a hat. Trust me, I was born and raised in the Heart of Dixie: I know rednecks. This is no different than SEC football. Just ask Les Miles at LSU. The guy had a winning tradition, but a few bad games turned the beloved coach into an outsider.
Mr. Trump prided himself in the last couple of weeks of his campaign that “the Republicans are coming home”. That may be the case. But be warned, President-elect Trump: when the rednecks come home to roost, no one is safe. President Trump better be careful, or his beloved constituents will be burning crosses in the front lawn of the White House.
At the end of the day, I still believe we are better than this. You might not tell it by last night’s election results, but this is not who we are. We cannot possibly be this sexist, this racist, this...backward. We are neighbors of different races, religions, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, and political affiliations, but we are Americans. And to tell someone to pack their bags and move home because of the color of their skin, is mind boggling. Whether we realize it or not, this is not the America any of us want.
All I know is this: we have done all we can do. Votes have been cast. People have made their voices heard. And I’m still crazy enough to believe that the only thing left is to do is pray. So, let us pray:
Holy God, I do not understand what has transpired over the past twenty-four hours. I am fearful and anxious and disheartened. But I cannot live the next four years, hating the man who holds the highest office in the land. So, I refuse to hate. And it’s really hard to hate someone you are actively praying for; therefore, I will pray for Donald J. Trump.
I believe with all my heart that Mr. Trump is the enemy of all things compassionate and decent and right in the world. Change his heart, God. Teach him compassion and patience and understanding. Turn the heart of this selfish, egotistical maniac toward You and amaze us all. Or remove him from power.
If Donald Trump is to be the Shepherd of this Land, he’s going to need courage, integrity, mercy, and wisdom. So give those traits to him in full measure.
And while You conform our enemy into Your image, protect us. Protect Your LGBTQ children. Protect Your hispanic children. Protect the orphans and the widows, the poor, and the refugees. Guard us until You change the heart of our soon-to-be leader, and give us all patience and strength until he is removed from office.
Yours is the Kingdom and the Power forever. Amen.
Steve Austin is an author, speaker, and life coach who is passionate about helping overwhelmed people learn to catch their breath. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers, "Catching Your Breath," and "From Pastor to a Psych Ward." Steve lives with his wife and two children in Birmingham, Alabama.
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