I am trying to process what I am seeing at the Republican convention in Cleveland. The ugliness, the bald faced hatred and bile is just really hard to take. Is this an accurate reflection of our society or are we peering into a fun house mirror?
I wonder and I am afraid to find out. I wake up in the morning these past few days with a heavy heart. A sense of foreboding. An abiding sadness and sense of hopelessness for the future.
Maybe this is just what the world looks like when belligerent children are in charge. Who trash the place with government shut downs, slashed spending and obstruction at every turn, and then come back and indignantly denounce the mess created.
“How did this happen?” they scream. “They did it.”
‘They’ is a blank to be filled in by any number of things; Immigrants, Democrats, Mexicans, Radical Islamic terrorists, and Hillary Clinton (that’s go-to blank filler at this convention).
Never, WE did this. Never, WE had a hand in this.
Instead, they gleefully chant “lock her up” for imprudent emailing. You could almost forget, in all the noise and shouts of “guilty” that this is the very party that lied us into the Iraq war, then blessed us with torture, renditions, black hole sites, and not a single investigation or any accountability!
No one has been “locked up.” Millions have died, been injured or maimed. The suffering is almost impossible to measure or comprehend, and it is still unfolding as a world-wide refugee crisis.
Their response? “Build a wall!” Nominate a candidate who would double down on all of it. Who champions everything decent law abiding people would be ashamed of. And then touts himself the Law and Order candidate!
There’s a snap shot of how evil works, by the way. Project your faults, wash your hands of them, and continue self-righteously on your merry way. The suffering and mayhem that results is not your fault.
Have the people at this convention learned nothing? Is there a shred of self-awareness, humility or simple decency to be found there? Or, is that just asking way too much of any political convention?
And if it is too much to ask, then politics is not the place to turn for what we need today. Because these times cry out for humility, compassion, a simple human decency that refuses to demonize the other. To remind people that Freedom ends where Fear begins. People who desire freedom must first overcome fear.
This is the real danger of politicizing religion. Because religion should be the place we turn to find the traits and teaching we so desperately need today. Not justification for the divisions our politics seeks to exploit.
Our faith should be our refuge, the place we connect with our better angels and transcend the divisions that demonize the other and dehumanize us all.
Politics exploits duality, enlists allies, divides the world into Us and Them. Religion is only useful in politics for getting people on your side and consolidating power. Listen again to the opening prayer and benediction for this convention.
Religion in its true sense holds the disparate pieces and people of the world together. Binds us in the heart of God. Unites us in a single family, which is what we pray in the Lord’s Prayer when we pray Our Father.
We are acknowledging, right off the bat, the God in whom we are a single family. The God and Father of all. Including those who call God Allah, or Yahweh, or even nothing at all. Including those of every color and orientation. OUR Father….
That will be my challenge for the final night of this convention and through the rest of the campaign. I will try to hold fast to who my faith calls me to be. Love the God in people waving signs and screaming “guilty.”
And maybe find the grace to paraphrase Jesus, “Father forgive us, for none of us really knows what we’re doing.”
May God free us to act in good faith, keep hearts open to each other, and simply do the best we can.
If anyone were asking, that would be my closing prayer for this convention. Amen.