In listening to the President last night, and praying later about it, I keep struggling to see anything good, then I feel bad for even trying to. Then I feel weird for not trying to. My head spins every single day about something he has done, said, not done, not said and so on. I cannot keep up with him.
I’m capable of complaining about any administration, and to that extent, Trump is no different. I am a liberal, or a progressive or whatever, and I will say that proudly. Still, Trump’s presidency is like the people who come to me for marriage counseling who never should have gotten married in the first place. That is not the case with most of my couples, and I give couples a “wide berth” of normal. There are things I can’t imagine, but it’s not my life, and they are ok with so-and-such behavior. That said, there are people so far “outside the ballpark” that the relationship is doomed to fail without actual confrontation from me or another therapist. That is where the Trump presidency is, in comparison to others. Anything decent, loving, kind, caring, or affirmative, he is against. Anything mean-spirited, divisive, angry, impulsive, our worst selves, he is for.
And so, I keep complaining. In my soul, though, I’m grieving. I’m grieving for a country that can elect such a man. I’m saddened that a large percent of the population is so sick of their lives that they thought his ideas were the solution. I grieve for a country that thinks hating one group or another is the solution to anything. They could have a job, if it weren’t for the Mexicans. They could go to the bathroom in peace if it weren’t for a trans kid. Their communities could be safe if it weren’t for the Black people who are picking fights with the gun-toting police officer. They could practice their religion if they didn’t have to do their job. They could be safe if ISIS would stop attacking. Their solution is simple: get rid of the Mexicans, trans kids, Black people and Muslims… today. When their problems still don’t go away, they move on to the next group of people causing their problems, never once looking in the mirror.
I’m grieving for a country of actually decent people who are victims of the way things are: Parents with kids who aren’t criminals and have been here for 20 years, trans kids who can’t even understand their own feelings, let alone why someone would hate them, or gay adults who just want to go home to each other at night, murdered-by-police 10 year old Black kids, and Muslims who believe in the a God of love. Mixed in with this is the old White guy, or the Christian teen or the Americorp worker who teaches kids English, and the farmer who feeds them. Those people are “too sympathetic” or “bleeding hearts” or just not-ready-for-nor-interested-in-being-a Reality TV Star! (what we used to call “normal people”).
I’m grieving for a country that lets, people fight because they don’t have enough money to pay their bills and blames it on others can’t pay theirs — all the while promoting endless wealth as the ideal. I’m grieving, I guess, for an America that never was, according to some, but was a heck of a lot closer than this. I’m grieving for a country that believes that lies are hyper-truth. I’m grieving for a country that used to believe that peace, love, and equality were the way to be. I’m grieving for a country that has less and less usable nature because money is to be made. I’m grieving for a country that really seems to be that force is the answer. In short, I’m grieving for us — the country that elected Trump. Now, with him in, I grieve every day. That part is about him.
“Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets and stone those who sent you! How often have I longed to gather your children, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you refused! So be it. Your house will be left to you desolate.” Matthew 23: 37-38
With those words, Jesus grieved for Jerusalem, the big important city of his time. If the words “Jerusalem” are replaced with “America”, I believe the same is true for Jesus today. So I soldier on in peace, not because I fear Trump, but because every day, I still believe in Jesus. God wakes me and calls me to another day of hope and love. Jesus shows me the way, and encourages me to live a life in harmony with his vision. Because of this, Jesus is the standard I hold my politicians to. All politicians. I keep my eyes on the goal-line of the Kingdom or “Realm” of God, and I watch as my country gets farther and farther away from it. As a Christian, I have to set my standards in a different way than the powers and principalities do. I have to hold myself accountable to those standards, as well. It is my job, and the job of every other Christian to make the world better, even as it wants to be worse.
I suppose I don’t really believe in countries, per se, but the place on earth where I live is my place to work, thus America is what I care most about. The dream that America, perhaps uniquely, holds to be sacred — with liberty and justice for all — is the best expression of that, as well. The American Dream, as described in documents and Constitutions and ideas, not the one sold to us by Madison Avenue, is close to the way Jesus would like us to be and it’s a good starting point toward the Kingdom. We can’t even find that anymore.
Yes, Donald Trump seems to be evil incarnate, but he cannot be the final word, so as long as God wakes me up every morning, that is the direction that I must go. I am not running away from hate, but to love. Lately, though, that’s getting harder to do. That’s all.
Resisting in Peace,