The post below was first published on November 9, 2016, on the Institute's previous webpage, and has been slightly adapted.
Not very different from the morning after a tornado or hurricane blasts through a community, Americans from all sides of the political and theological terrain this morning wake up both to assess damage done, and also, who and what has survived. Like in the aftermath of a disaster, you may be surprised by who has come through seemingly unscathed as well as who has came through significantly wounded. Already, faith-based leaders have reached out to ICTG asking for advice on how to attend to the “election trauma” in and around their congregations. Schools and businesses are facing similar questions related to their staffs, students, and constituents. These requests are not entirely surprising after seeing the remarkable election results [of 2016]. Vote tallies confirm our country is nearly equally split, not in only one or two key states but in a majority of states. We are a divided country. And that remains the case four years later.
Whoever you voted for, wherever is your political home, we each wake up this morning with an imperative to get to know our neighbor more and to understand more of what they felt was most at stake in the  election so we may attend more adequately to one another. The imperative is not just because, after all, so many people feel right now they did not actually know their fellow citizens well or what mattered most to them. No, we must get to know one another more because a vast number of our fellow citizens are wounded today [in 2016]. If we do not attend to these wounds now, the wounds within our country only continue to fester. And now, in 2021, we bear witness to some of the ways they have festered. We also bear witness to the ways the prejudices and biases coursing through our country have been degrading our democracy.
Traumatologists know well, we cannot simply move on after severe losses or sudden and remarkable gains. We cannot simply forget the stress these experiences cause among individuals and groups of people. We cannot simply pretend the vast numbers of wounded are not really wounded. Congregations, schools, businesses, and community-based groups can play significant roles in the restorative work needed in the coming weeks.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Expanding understanding and best practices for leadership and whole-community care.