As Elizabeth Warren read Corretta Scott King’s letter about Jeff Sessions outside the Senate Chambers, there’s a brief moment when her voice catches, and it becomes apparent that she is heartbroken that it’s come to this.
This morning, my friend Ron posted an article by Hannah Arendt on the banality of evil in Nazi Germany. In it, people have become part of the machine, and simply follow along, administrators and such, grinding up the fabric of people’s rights and lives.
For the last two years or so, I have watched time and time again as it became apparent that African-Americans and Caucasian Americans have different laws, different rights, different abilities to be counted, different punishments, none of which empower Black folks and all of which empower Whites. I had wanted to write to Warren, whom I respect, to ask if she really believed there was “equal justice under the law”, because I can see many holes in that theory.
I get no joy out of saying ” I told you so”, but we saw this coming, America. I want to believe that our government will still seek justice, but I can not anymore, because I do not. I want there to be one America, but the political will of the people in the administration is not that. Their will, their methods, their lies are all designed to break down the unity that this country’s people seek. Witness the women’s march and the protests of the travel ban. Americans, by and large, want to be united having seen how bad things could get, and how quickly. The administration wants White Men to rule the land, and they want no opposition. While I don’t believe that all Republicans support the President, they are supporting him, thinking they will get benefits from his power grab. Legitimate power doesn’t need a power grab. It doesn’t need silence. It doesn’t need any thing more than fairness and kindness to win hearts and minds.
We haven’t, for years now, understood the concept of “winning hearts and minds”. Good arguments, based in real facts, and good actions, are the way that legitimate power is gained. If you force someone to believe you, it’s not real belief.
In Luke 13:34-35, Jesus is distraught. He says, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate” That’s how many of us feel about America today.
So, here’s the thing… Do not expect justice from this administration. Do not assume that good people aren’t labeled “criminals” and that people in charge are legitimate authority and therefore anything they do must be “all right”. Look for yourself. Does whatever you are doing hurt people? Would you want it done to you? Will it make life better for some and not for others? Forget what others say it means. What do you see? Every single day, about every single action, ask these questions. Do nothing without thought or emotions. Yes, it will slow you down, but don’t be in a rush to get anywhere haters want to go. Don’t be passive about anywhere haters want to go, either.
There is no justice. We must be justice. By “justice “, I don’t mean revenge, I don’t mean hatred. I don’t mean violence. “If you want money for people with minds that hate, all I can tell you brother or sister is you’ll have to wait”. We must be , think, and act like the merciful. We must look to repair, not divide. We need to give equal rights to all of humanity, simply because they are human beings. We must treat people with the dignity that they have been endowed by their creator.
And here’s the hard part, at least for me: we must interrupt injustice where we see it. When we see someone beaten, or silenced, or facing absurd consequences for doing nothing wrong, we have to get in the way of that. We must be the mother hen that Jesus spoke of being, for all people. For Christians, whom I can speak to, this means seeking first the Kingdom (realm) of God before anything else. For everyone else, it simply means doing what you know is right. I’ll leave it up to you what that is. I frequently tell clients, “If you’re going to be in trouble no matter what you do, do the thing that makes sense to you”.
Where there is no justice, we’re all in trouble. Specifically because it feels like we have no choices, all bets are off. We have choices. Let us make just, fair, peaceful, joyous, loving ones.
Resisting with peace,