Wednesday, June 14, 2017

As The World Turns

The last time I wrote here, we were in the throws of a primary election and I was making decisions about attending Seminary.

The world turned.

I walked onto the Seminary campus on my birthday, to inquire about classes and last fall, began the most intensive academic year I have had in quite a long time.  They were right when they said that Seminary was like Med School and Law School with the amount of reading required. I thought it was a bit of an exaggeration. I already had my M.B.A. and that program at the University of Iowa was beyond intense for two full-time years. This was even more so.

Like a lot of changes, Seminary turned my life. I became a full-time student with all the excitement of the first time I set foot on a college campus. I attended a moving opening ceremony, met new friends, was challenged in sociocultural situations, did an internships, went to a major conference, wrote more papers, burned the midnight oil, stayed in the library beyond midnight, and ended the year with a sense of making it official all the literary, education, and social justice I had been doing for years.

In the midst of my first semester, the world turned when the election results made me literally ill.

After eight stellar years with the distinguished President Barack Obama leading our country from the brink of disaster to an economic recovery, the un-accounted-for-sins of racism, sexism, classism, xenophobia, and homophobia surfaced with the fire and fury of hate. 45 was elected with an overwhelming majority of white Americans, especially those who considered themselves conservative, "Christian," heterosexual and cisgendered (although, some white gay males did vote for 45), and of all white economic groups. They rationalized it, of course. There was the smear campaign against Hillary Clinton after her win against Bernie Sanders. She was mansplained in the media and there were trumped up moments of impropriety over some imagined emailed. It was an orchestrated attempt to take over the country and restore this country to what it was before that Black man had the audacity to be elected, not once, but twice.

It dawned on me, the day after the election, that I was sitting among the very people who made this atrocity happen and I wasn't sure I could trust my theological development among people who could care less about justice, righteousness, or shalom (reference to what God requires of us, Micah 1:8).

What had gone wrong?

Was it because the population of people of color was increasing with more Brown babies born than White?

Was it because their capital gains over a recovering economy were not enough to assuage their fears fed to them on daily Alt-Right and Right-Talk-Radio?

Or was it as simple as the original sin of this country still being unatoned for?

Over the course of the next 147 or so days, it was hard to keep a straight face and not simply walk around with one's jaws permanently dropped at the antics of 45. It was more than the theft of this election -  since 45 really did not win the popular vote and the  Russians being involved in the election have made any win suspect, although that should have been enough to make this invalid - it has been more the dismantling of decency that has ensued. There have been continuous assaults against people on everything from subway trains, to monuments, to restaurants, to grocery stores. One of the teens I work with commented that it seemed as if 45 being elected has given these people permission to act as total morons.

The news has been never ending of the dismantling of this democracy. The question that I often post on my Facebook page and specifically to my white friends, since they are the majority, "what are you going to do about this?" When "good" people are silent in the face of tyranny, it is not the "good" people who are harmed, especially in the United States when "good" is defined by race.

As the world continues to turn upside down as loyalty oaths are demanded in the cabinet to Black female senators being called every racial term imaginable because she dared to question a criminal acting public official to Midwestern shooters deciding to take matters into his own hands, the people who are left in the debris are still wondering how we got here and if there is any hope left,