Silent No More

I have been silent this week.

I have been watching and listening and taking it all in. The election. The riots and protests, the fear and hatred and anger and self-righteousness that has followed the election of a man almost no one considers fit to be president of the United States.

I have been sickened.

There has been so much noise; a cacophony, which by definition is a harsh, discordant mixture of sounds. Just among my “friends”, or at least the people I follow on social media, I have seen a mixture of attitudes and opinions that sicken me. Liberal, conservative, white, black, Christian, non-Christian–it’s all been a sad, frustrated sort of noise.
But the noise that has bothered me the most comes from a group of people I’ve identified with all my life. A group I am, by birth, a part of. The white, conservative, middle-class majority.  Because it’s this group that seems to have their head very purposefully buried in the sand. I’ve seen such statements floating around as, “America does not have a racism problem. We have a media problem.” Consider that statement again–America does not have a racism problem.

Tell that to the face of the middle school boy who’s just been called a nigger. I dare you. Look into his eyes and tell him that the fact that he is labeled, insulted, disadvantaged, and condemned to life in the projects with very little hope of escape is just in his imagination. It’s just the liberal news outlets causing all this trouble.
If you can do that without breaking down in tears or becoming sick to your stomach, then you are either very strong or very hardened.

I’ve also seen over and over again a defense of Donald Trump, stating that the media has skewed the facts and given us a false perception of him. There have been a handful of pointed little memes shared by many, with pictures of Trump looking compassionate and quoting something sweet about equality for African American children, and receiving some award back in the 1980s for supporting immigration. All I see is an attempt at justifying a man who no one really wants in office. A man who maybe isn’t directly a racist–but one who has managed to divide our country over the issue.

Most Christians voted for Trump because he claims (if you can trust him) to value the sanctity of human life by standing against abortion. For that reason ALONE, I am thankful he won over Hillary Clinton, although that is truly the only relief I feel. I am VERY strong in my stand against abortion. I have vowed never to vote for a politician who would support abortion, and I will not waver from that. I believe that innocent, unborn lives are worth protecting and valuing and I will fight for that all my life.
But you know what other lives I believe are worth protecting and valuing? The lives of African American children. The lives of Muslim children. The lives of Jewish children. Mexican and Hispanic children. All the children who have been promised some sort of “Land of Opportunity” in these United States but have been denied it over and over again, because if we’re honest–and I mean painfully honest–the only children who have much opportunity in this land are those who were born white.

I apologize for writing while I’m angry. I know I’m insulting people and hurting feelings here. I do want to use wisdom in all my words, but when I look back over what I’ve written, I can’t see anything I want to erase.
People. Human beings. Regardless of color or race or religion or political affiliation or–dare I go there–sexual orientation! I implore you, respect one another. Fight for one another. ESPECIALLY if you are a Christian. Love one another. There are those who will say I’m being too accepting, too tolerant, that I’m not standing firm on my Christian principles by saying these sort of things.
No. I am not standing on my conservative American principles.
Jesus was a friend to sinners. He chose the unloved, unattractive, disadvantaged, and socially outcast to be the ones he spent his time with. They were the ones whose hearts were soft towards Him. They needed Him. All throughout Biblical history, not only in the New Testament, God chose the prostitutes, foreigners, and outcasts to advance His will, even to build His own chosen people and to be in the direct lineage of His son. Why do we think we can ignore these people? Why is it ok for scores of Christians to vote a man into office who deliberately and repeatedly has devalued and shamed these precious ones whom God looks on with such love?
This is what has sickened me the most.

In the 1947 movie “Gentleman’s Agreement”, which faces the issue of anti-semitism, Gregory Peck’s character is posing as a Jew to get a first-hand angle for an article he is writing on the topic. At one point he is in a heated argument with the woman he loves, who claims to be with hm in the fight against anti-semitism, yet she continually makes excuses for people and refuses to truly take a stand for the Jews. What he said to her stopped me in my tracks. I paused the movie and wrote it down, inserting my own words to make it more relevant to the issue facing Americans today.

“I’ve come to see lots of nice people who aren’t [racist] –people who despise it and detest it and deplore it and protest their own innocence — help it along and then wonder why it grows. People who would never beat up a [black man] or yell [nigger] at a child. People who think [racism] is something way off in some dark crack-pot place with low-class morons. That’s the biggest discovery I’ve made about this whole business — it’s the good people, the nice people.”

Don’t you see? By ignoring racism, defending and making excuses for those who make racist remarks, and even denying the very existence of a race problem in this country, we are helping it along. It’s the good people, the nice people, who do nothing. Those of us who are sickened by racism, sexism, and discrimination, yet we let the racist jokes slide. We don’t defend our fellow humans. We even elect leaders who propagate this kind of attitude, all the while taking his direct quotes and saying “He didn’t really mean it.”

I’m so tired, as are most Americans after this election week. I’ve held my tongue although I’ve had plenty to say, but tonight a fire began to burn in my heart again and I couldn’t stay silent. I realize, of course, that it’s over and done, and there’s nothing any of us can do about it now. In fact, I’m committed to praying for this man who is to be our president. I will pray fervently for him. God is in control and I am not afraid for the future of our country or my children. I’m not afraid, but neither will I sit back and be complacent.

Jesus, when he was on earth, burned with righteous anger at wrong doing, and wept with compassion for the broken and lost. I pray only to be graced with the strength to do the same as my Lord has done. He was humble, yet powerful. He was silent when it came time to defend Himself and fight for His own rights–He left that up to God! But when it was the rights of others that needed defending, Jesus was a warrior. He was not silent.

Neither can I be silent.


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