The Light at the End of the Tunnel

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There are certain images that are forever burned into my mind. Some happy – my children being placed on my chest for the first time, making eye contact with Clay as he marched into Magrath Gym at 1:00am returning from his first deployment, and one particular moment too special to share. Some sad. And some filled with terror – seeing the second plane crash into the second tower in real time on television, viewing the beheading of Nicholas Berg online, and watching an unconscious police officer being beaten with an American flag at the steps of the United States Capitol in front of crowd wearing Nazi sweatshirts and Trump hats, holding ‘Blue Lives Matter’, ‘Jesus Saves’, and confederate flags while chanting “Death to Pence!” minutes after the outgoing President of our country tweeted out a video message telling the parties involved, “We love you. You’re very special.

I found it difficult to pretend that nothing happened last week, which is why I didn’t blog about our first ski experience of 2021 or about anything else that felt unimportant when compared to watching an insurrection unfold on live television. Like a lot of people around the world, I watched the events last week with horror – paralyzed by the footage detailing the storming of our United States Capitol by terrorists. We saw the American flag being torn from a second floor balcony in attempt to replace it with a Trump flag. We saw people bemused at the thought of Representatives and Senators taking cover and cowering – wondering if they’d end up like the victims of Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Columbine, Orlando, Las Vegas, or any one of the other acts of violence that contribute to the United States being a world leader in mass shootings. But thankfully that didn’t happen and later that night and into the early morning hours, we saw the United States Congress certify the results and Vice President Pence declare Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 United States Presidential election.

As a registered Independent for almost 20 years, I consider myself to be a thoughtful voter who doesn’t get swept up in party politics. While my list of politicians who I believe have been good (and bad) for our country involves members from both sides of the aisle, I do believe that no one has been more of a cancer to our country than Donald J. Trump. I am proud to say that I’ve never voted for him and I am happy that the malignancy will be gone next week but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about our country’s ability to go into remission – especially witnessing the events we did last week.

As a Christian who believes in the teachings of Jesus and as one who considers herself a lifelong learner who constantly asks questions about the unknown, I am gravely concerned and deeply troubled by the rise of Christian Nationalism (for the record – I feel the same way about any religion + nationalism), which unfortunately goes far beyond Franklin Graham‘s frightening tweet comparing the Republicans who voted to impeach the President as similar to Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. Christianity Today does a great job at explaining the concept of Christian Nationalism and the Holocaust Museum points out the connection between Christian Nationalism and the rise of the Nazi State, which may explain the pro-Nazi propaganda worn by those who stormed the Capitol – not that it makes it any less terrifying. Some Christian leaders, like Beth Moore, have publicly condemned Trump by stating that she has “never seen anything in these United States of America I found more astonishingly seductive & dangerous to the saints of God than Trumpism.” And while others are denouncing Trump administration’s actions such as separating migrant families and fueling racial tensions as unchristian, there are more who believe they are fighting a holy war, which is both alarming and heartbreaking.

I don’t consider my political beliefs to be extreme (despite someone once calling me a Nazi Marxist, which anyone who considers themselves well-versed in political theory laughs at the absurdity). I want people who look different than me to have the same rights and privileges. I am okay with my slice of pie being a little smaller so someone else can have a slice because that is the price of living in a functional society. I want everyone to have access to affordable healthcare. I believe in a strong public education system. I believe in strong foreign policy and I want a President who surrounds himself or herself with experts and not just yes-people. I want a President who listens to military leadership and values their apolitical expertise. So perhaps that is why Thomas Friedman’s latest column really resonated with me – particularly the last paragraph…

I know, it looks real dark right now. But if you look at the diverse, high-quality center-left Cabinet that Biden has assembled and the principled, center-right Republicans who are looking to be problem-solvers, not Trump soldiers, maybe that light in the tunnel isn’t a train coming at us after all.

Thomas Friedman

I have to believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Five sleeps and a wake up.