What do we really want? In this season of American politics, in the wake of the recent miscarriages of justice that span from Charlottesville, VA to Columbus, OH to Salt Lake City, UT and all points between, many who are affected, afflicted, and appalled by the realities of racism have been calling for The President Of The United States Of America to make a formal public statement denouncing White Supremacy; to distance himself from these vicious acts and show his disapproval for the hatred at the center of them. And…he hasn’t. And…that’s fine with me.
Our country finds herself in a particularly problematic space. One in which the complicated, cruel history of racial injustice has become unavoidable and unable to continue being unaddressed. And, as if that wasn’t enough, America (and by “America”, I mean 81% of White Evangelicals and a great number of White brothers and sisters who were public deniers/private supporters of 45) voted in a Commander In Chief that espouses fascist, bigoted ideology without regret or retraction. This troubling truth, these saddening stitches into the fabric of American identity, have inconveniently placed a mirror in front of the nation and forced her to deal with all of the deformities on display. And in this moment, those who are relentlessly pursuing righteousness are left with a very real question to answer: What do we really want? Are we more committed to our comfort than we are to change? Have we been so flawed by the uninterrupted unrighteousness around us that we are more amenable to apologies as opposed to making adjustments? Do we want the leader of this current American administration to succeed by saying things that don’t encourage us to grow past our hideous hindrances or are we willing to begin to create a space of accountability where antipathy is not made acceptable and concessions are not made for contrariety. Do we want to create what can be or merely complain about what is?
I do not support the chaos and confusion that surrounds so much of what happens in our country today. I am appalled by both the insidious acts of injustice across the country & the repugnant rhetoric of her leader. I hurt with & for this nation. But, this empire, established upon tenets of racism, sexism, classism and the like will fold upon itself unless we radically reconstruct its foundations. We will not get where we say we want to go if we begin to settle for anything less than righteousness and continue to accept pacifiers in the name of patriotism. In an age where we want everything to be easy, perhaps the best thing for us, that which God desires for us, is actually hard. If I’m right (and I think I am), then the collective sense of discomfiture we all feel in this moment is a necessary pain on the road to perfecting this project of democracy we are engaged in.
The 33rd Psalm of the Bible teaches us that a nation is blessed when their Lord is our God. How can we, as a nation, invite God to bless us and dwell with us without making room for His righteousness to abide and abound?
No, I don’t want 45 to denounce White Supremacy. His proscribing wouldn’t be persuasive and it would be more about pandering than making real progress. Let’s just accept him for what he is (or what he isn’t) and allow this moment to cultivate our collective consciousness in the way that is needed to be better in the moments after it. I do not want 45 to denounce White Supremacy. I want to rebuild a nation where a White Supremacist wouldn’t feel comfortable promoting and proclaiming it. I don’t want him to be less embracing of White Supremacy. I want our country to be less embracing of him (and anyone else) who embraces White Supremacy with him. And, by my thinking, directing him to denouce that which he, incontestably, has no issue with is absolving him of any accountability (You know, if I didn’t know any better, I would think that there are people who want him to be in office and are advising him on what to do to remain there).
So, thanks, but no thanks. The best apologies are direct, unsolicited, and only come when something is perceived as wrong. I’m going to let his actions, behavior, and character inform how to view him. And frankly, I see nothing wrong with saying that he is wrong!
I believe God’s desire is for His righteousness to flow freely throughout this nation and I am not willing to accept any substitutes. I believe we are in a season of growing pains, dealing with necessary tension on our way to eventually reshaping this “nation under God” into a Godly nation. But, we will stall in our progress if we make room for that which is abhorrent to be accepted. I pray that our country eventually matures into the best version itself. A more moral union that responds to the cancers of racism and bigotry in public office by pushing for an impeachment instead of pressuring for an apology…but maybe that isn’t what we really want.