Many ask­ing how to heal af­ter Trump vic­tory

In the wake of Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s vic­tory, many peo­ple are ask­ing how they can heal.

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Kath­leen E. Carey kcarey@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @dt­busi­ness on Twit­ter

Per­haps, a way to be­gin would be to lis­ten to each other.

Re­ally lis­ten to each other. In a non-judg­men­tal, re­spect­ful way, in a way where we re­ally, truly try to un­der­stand, for a mo­ment what it’s like to be in their shoes.

Who­ever “they” are – Trump sup­port­ers, Clin­ton sup­port­ers, white, black, Mus­lim, Latino, Asian, male, fe­male, straight, les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual, trans, queer. Imag­ine, for a mo­ment, be­ing “that” for a while.

And stay in the present, not the past, not the fu­ture. Stay here and see what hap­pens, mo­ment to mo­ment.

This is a sum­mary of the mes­sage and its sim­i­lar vari­a­tions re­li­gious lead­ers through­out Delaware County were im­part­ing upon their flocks in one of the most di­vi­sive times in Amer­i­can his­tory that saw an af­ter­math filled with hate mes­sages and ac­tions from spray-painted swastikas to mid­dle school chil­dren chant­ing, “Build a Wall” to at­tacks on mi­nori­ties, Mus­lims and women and thou­sands tak­ing to the street, some burn­ing the Amer­i­can flag, protest­ing the elec­tion of the 45th pres­i­dent of the United States.

It was a week of un­rest where many couldn’t even imag­ine where do we go from here.

“In Amer­ica the choice now, must be to trans­form the con­flict into ac­cep­tance and mu­tual har­mony,” Rabbi Barry Blum of Con­gre­ga­tion Beth ElNer Tamid in Broomall said at a spe­cial ser­vice his syn­a­gogue held Fri­day evening for the heal­ing of the coun­try.

He spoke to the tu­mult of the elec­tion sea­son and re­minded par­tic­i­pants that the donkey of the Democrats and the ele­phant of the Repub­li­cans are both flawed beasts.

“Now, the heal­ing process must be­gin and our di­vided na­tion must unite,” Blum said. “Fam­i­lies and friends that oc­ca­sion­ally be­come en­tan­gled by be­liev­ing in cer­tain prin­ci­ples of their fa­vorite can­di­date must now unite for the greater good.”

The Rev. Ethel Guy, pas­tor of Lin­wood Heights Methodist Church in Lower Chich­ester, said the best way for that to oc­cur was through re­spect­ful con­ver­sa­tion.

“If we don’t lis­ten to each other and share in an at­mos­phere of trust, we will never solve any­thing,” she said. “Be proac­tive in hold­ing out a hand in friend­ship and fel­low­ship. Reach out, see the other per­son as an equal child of God the way Je­sus did and above all, lis­ten.”

She urged all peo­ple to find a com­mu­nity, such as a church, to have au­then­tic con­ver­sa­tions with the in­tent of un­der­stand­ing.

“One of the prob­lems is we are all safe be­hind our com­puter screens,” she said, but in or­der to heal, she added we must find safe fo­rums where we can all share hon­estly. “We are not on this Earth to judge. It’s not our job to judge. Let’s go for­ward from here.”

She said she un­der­stood that many peo­ple from var­i­ous back­grounds, no mat­ter who they voted for, are afraid.

“We’re afraid of go­ing back­wards, afraid of los­ing the free­doms we have,” Guy said. “We just have to push for­ward and do it. The sun comes up ev­ery day and God is go­ing to lead us into the fu­ture but we have to do it with pre­con­ceived no­tions.”

Shelly Rah­man, a New­town Square woman who was a Hil­lary Clin­ton del­e­gate to the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion and who is a Mus­lim, agrees.

She moved to the United States in 1974 from Bangladesh and she is pro­cess­ing her can­di­date’s loss, but re­spects the process and is try­ing to un­der­stand oth­ers’ views.

“No mat­ter how I look, no mat­ter what is my ac­cent, this is my home,” she said.

“Democ­racy is still the best way,” Rah­man said. “It’s very clear, the ma­jor­ity wanted Don­ald Trump. You have to ac­cept it. I may not like him, I may not like to watch him on the TV. The loss, it is hurt­ing me, that’s the re­al­ity.”

She said that’s a feel­ing those who did not sup­port Pres­i­dent Barack Obama can re­late to.

“When Obama came, they were up­set,” Rah­man said.

As she scrolls through her Face­book feed, she said she found her­self in dis­agree­ment with some.

“A lot of peo­ple are say­ing, ‘All Trump sup­port­ers are racists,’” she said. “I’m say­ing, ‘No, ab­so­lutely not.’”

If they were all racist, she con­tended, Obama would not have got­ten elected into of­fice.

“Peo­ple are suf­fer­ing so they are will­ing to take change,” Rah­man said. “Our lead­ers on both sides seem like they are out of touch of the re­al­ity and the peo­ple.”

She spoke of a friend of hers from Long Is­land, New York, who told her of a visit to the up­state por­tions of that state where houses were de­te­ri­o­rat­ing.

She said one be­lief is that the gov­ern­ment and politi­cians are al­ways giv­ing pri­or­i­ties to mi­nori­ties.

“No­body … talks about the ru­ral peo­ple and they are suf­fer­ing and they feel left out,” Rah­man said. “Think about all those rich politi­cians from ei­ther party, have they ever had a rally there?”

Trump, she said, has touched their heart.

“If he’s not suc­cess­ful,

the coun­try is not suc­cess­ful,” Rah­man added.

The Rev. Joseph Cor­ley, pas­tor of Blessed Vir­gin Mary Church in Darby, agreed.

“You have to give the guy a chance,” he said. “I just want to wait and see what hap­pens.”

Through­out his time, the pri­est said he’s seen many can­di­dates make cam­paign prom­ises that don’t come to fruition.

Cor­ley said he was try­ing to re­main op­ti­mistic that the hate acts that are be­ing re­ported rep­re­sent a small mi­nor­ity.

“I’m hop­ing that what you see and hear on the me­dia is not rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the ma­jor part of our coun­try,” he said. “I’m hop­ing what we see on TV, I’m hop­ing that’s less than 10 per­cent of our coun­try.”

One thing he said that’s been a shared ex­pe­ri­ence for many was the dis­ap­point­ment in both can­di­dates.

Prior to the elec­tion, he said a com­mon theme was “I don’t know who I’m go­ing to vote for.”

Now, Cor­ley said he will give Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump a chance.

“As a Chris­tian, I pray that this man makes good choices and good de­ci­sions,” he said. “I have to sup­port the de­ci­sions that are help­ful.”

For those that are not, he said, “You have a right to say you don’t like what’s go­ing on.”

That be­ing said, Cor­ley said we all must re­main present.

“Don’t pre­dict the fu­ture,” he said. “Live in the present. You per­se­vere, you try to be lov­ing and you try to be fair. Don’t pre­dict the fu­ture. Don’t cling to the past. Take it a day at a time.”

He, too, said he prayed for a time, a way when we can en­gage each other in con­ver­sa­tions, ex­press­ing our opin­ions, our ex­pe­ri­ences in mean­ing­ful ways that re­spect each other as we try to bridge un­der­stand­ing to erad­i­cate name-call­ing of any group, to find and re­late to our com­mon hu­man­ity.

Two months ago, Fa­ther Cor­ley, who has served as chap­lain for the Darby Bor­ough po­lice, was asked to par­tic­i­pate in a dis­cus­sion with other clergy in his town.

“I was very con­cerned be­cause the folks asked me to speak about com­mu­nity re­la­tions and be­liefs,” he said. “I was ner­vous.”

Cor­ley said in his re­search prior to the meet­ing, he found in­for­ma­tion about how the po­lice need to im­prove but found a lack of ma­te­ri­als for how the com­mu­ni­ties can bet­ter them­selves.

This dis­cus­sion was tak­ing place in the midst of the vi­o­lence across the coun­try against po­lice in the rise of the Black Lives Mat­ter movement in the wake of the deaths of mi­nori­ties in in­ter­ac­tions with law en­force­ment.

He said he felt put into a pre­car­i­ous sit­u­a­tion, sim­i­lar to a dy­namic he saw re­peated in the elec­tion.

If peo­ple were vot­ing for Trump, he said, they were afraid of be­ing branded as racists. If peo­ple were vot­ing for Clin­ton, they were ac­cused of not car­ing that she lies.

“When can we dis­agree with­out call­ing each other racist?” Cor­ley asked. “I think that’s been lost with all the anger and fear.”

He said all sides will cry loudly about re­spect but often that equates to not be­ing able to dis­agree.

At the meet­ing, Cor­ley said through re­spect­ful, mean­ing­ful di­a­logue the par­tic­i­pants came to a con­clu­sive con­sen­sus that in­deed all lives mat­ter.

“I pray for the day where I can dis­agree with some­one,” the pri­est said. “Can we just dis­agree with­out the hat­ing?”

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

The Rev. Joseph Cor­ley, pas­tor at Blessed Vir­gin Mary Church in Darby Bor­ough, be­lieves cit­i­zens must be will­ing to give Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump a chance.

KATH­LEEN CAREY — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Shel­ley Rah­man cast an en­thu­si­as­tic vote for Hil­lary Clin­ton dur­ing the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion in Philadel­phia back in Au­gust.

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