That’s the text message on my phone at 7:15am Wednesday morning.
Flashback: November 9, 1960. My birthday. 9:15am.
Part of my birth story has always been that I waited to see who was president before I made my debut. My dad was a TV news director at the time and I’m sure he’d been up all night with the rest of the country waiting to hear if it was Nixon or Kennedy. The election was close. People were freaking out!
The first Roman Catholic president! Four years later, people were freaking out again when the hawkish Barry Goldwater could have put his finger on the nuclear button but Johnson was re-elected.
’68 was Nixon or Humphrey.
’72 Nixon was re-elected over McGovern.
’76 Carter beat Ford.
’80 Reagan instead of Carter.
’84 Reagan re-elected over Mondale.
’88 Elder Bush gets the nod over Dukakis.
’92 Clinton upsets Bush.
’96 Clinton re-elected over Bob Dole.
2000 W squeaks by with 271 electoral votes (uh-huh) over Vice-President Gore who won the popular vote by a half-million.
’04 Bush re-elected over Kerry.
’08 Obama beats McCain.
’12 Obama voters say “no” to Romney.
In every one of those elections, people woke up the next day and said, “Now what?”
And these are just the elections in my lifetime!
President-elect Trump defies the system as a political outsider and wins the electoral college. But even as I’m writing, Secretary Clinton is winning the popular vote.
People are freaking out. There are protestors in the streets. Never mind the debate about the electoral college. Never mind the hate speech of the campaign.
Here’s the good news: this is our country.
Here’s the bad news: this is our country.
Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day. We pay tribute to the generations of women and men who fight and die for freedom and justice all over the world. They fight and die because this land is your land—this land is my land. This is our country.
They fight and die so we can say who we want to be our president.
They fight and die so we can jump for joy when it goes our way.
They fight and die so we can freak out when it doesn’t.
And just in my short little lifetime people freaked out in some form or fashion every time. They voted and they got up the next morning every time. Every time they said, “Now what?” Every time.
So now what?
We pray every day.
But especially tomorrow, we pray so many prayers of thanks to whomever we pray to for this: our country. Thank you, because we get to pray. This is our country where we get to pray and be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, even Atheist!
Thank you, God!
On Election Day, my daughter Emily took the oath as an officer of the court and was admitted to the Bar in the State of Tennessee. A whole new generation of #nastywoman. Emily can be president and your daughter can, too. Thank you, God!
Thank you for a country where our daughters can be president.
Thank you for a country where even a guy like Trump can be president.
Thank you for a country where we can freak out about that.
But mostly, thank you for a country where we can say this prayer openly and worship you unabashedly, openly. Every day.
Thank you for our veterans and the sacrifices they and their families make.
All gave some, and some gave everything, just so we can wake up, freak out, pray, and say, “Now what?”
So now what?
Put on your pantsuit.
Put on your leisure suit.
Cue the O’Jay’s “Love Train.”
I’m getting back on the train.
Making sure we don’t go backwards.
I’m getting back to work speaking truth to power.
I’m getting back to work making America kind again.
One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.
This is our country.
So get on the train, ‘cause if you miss it I feel sorry, sorry for you.
That’s what now.
Grace and Peace,