On Inauguration Day: the path to healing

January 20, 2017

After the election in November, I wrote about radical love in a world that’s falling apart.

I wrote about those of us who were – and are – scared, hurting, and confused by the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.

I wrote about the minorities among a majority which continues to ignore, invalidate, and discredit the ones by whom they are threatened – the ones who challenge the status quo, push the envelope, refuse to bow down to the expectations of society (you are my people; I stand with you). I wrote about rallying together as one people, about choosing to see past our differences, about choosing love, and I meant every word.

But I also meant it when I said that we, the oppressed, are not required to join with our oppressors. I begged you not to ask that of us. We needed time to heal, to piece our hearts back together, to steady our shaking souls. 

But now it’s Inauguration Day and Donald Trump is being sworn into office. I’m not vindictive enough to hope he fails miserably (because then we all fail), and I’m not flippant enough to disrespect him (I respect his humanity, not his ideals).

I am angry enough to join the resistance against the harmful ideas, beliefs, and behavior he has promoted thus far.

The best way I know to do that is simple – and incredibly difficult:

The path to healing is paved with love and lined with community.

I keep seeing my conservative, Republican, often Christian friends and family calling for unity from those of us who just cannot get behind Trump’s message.

They’ve got the right idea – now let’s turn it around. Let’s call for unity from both sides – just because you won an election does not mean that everything you (or your choice of President) has said, done, or believed is right.

Don’t ask us for unity from your side if you aren’t willing to receive the same request from us.

Don’t ask me to join hands with those who were not outraged upon hearing that David Duke supported Trump during the election (“I love it…The fact that Donald Trump’s doing so well, it proves that I’m winning. I am winning.”) if you are not willing to declare “Black lives matter” – because all lives will not matter until Black lives matter.

Don’t ask me to pray with you for our country unless you are willing to protect the religious freedom of those whose faith does not look like yours (you don’t have to agree to defend a principle on which America was founded).

Don’t ask me to stand with you, asking for job creation, if you won’t demand closure of the wage gap for minorities and women.

Don’t ask me to join with you and your beautiful family in celebration if you are unwilling to defend the marriage-rights, family-rights, love-rights for your LGBTQIA neighbors. 

Don’t tell me that my rejection of Trump’s belief’s and actions are anti-American because America was founded by people who envisioned a better way and fought for it.

I think of the people who are standing, and have stood, strong against the culture of society, demanding equality, liberation, and love – and I am reminded of the One after whom many are modeling their peace resistance. 

Jesus was the ultimate Social Justice Revolutionary, and we take our cues from Him. 

It was this God-Man who showed us how to rebel for a greater cause. It was He who spoke out against leaders – political and religious – because He knew of a better way, and we speak out today because the Holy Spirit whispers Love into our hearts and Love without action is dead. 

Yes, now is absolutely the time for unity. Let’s look at our differences, acknowledge them, honor them, celebrate them, and start a meaningful conversation about how to merge into one people committed to America, diversity, life, and love. 

It will be difficult and painful and messy all around. We will have to recognize privilege, lay down defenses, show compassion, shake hands with difference, and choose love when it’s easier to fear. 

But since when has anything worth doing been easy?

Let’s join hands and hearts, make sure we’re on the right side of history, and step into Tomorrow. 

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