Witnessing a Piece of Mike’s Mind…
As I write, it is the day after a large group of white people briefly took over the Capitol building in Washington DC, where a joint session of congress was taking place. The seditionists were attempting to slow or stop certification of the presidential election that all reliable authorities had confirmed was legitimate and decisive.
Thinking about this, the entire event was predictable. The president and his many enablers in politics and the press have been fanning the flames of racism, nationalism, and lies, for months if not years. We live in dangerous and uncertain times, not just different politics, but different realities. For example, there is no definition of patriot I could come up with that would include the seditionists at the capitol yesterday, and yet, “patriots” is how the president and his enablers repeatedly described them.
What is less predictable, at least to me, is what happens now. Will this serve as a wake-up call for the Republican Party, the far-right media, and their millions of followers? Will they tone down the racist, nationalist rhetoric and lies? Or, is this the beginning of what many other countries around the world live with; in-house terrorism, a baked-in group committed to bringing down their own government by any means necessary?
At this moment, despite encouraging statements from some of the worst enablers (way too little, way too late in my humble opinion) it doesn’t look good. More lies, excuses, justifications, and bizarre theories about the event are already flying around social media, the Qanon people, and (undoubtedly) other groups I don’t even know about. Already, it’s being said that the seditionists were really deep state operatives dressed up to look like Trump supporters all in an effort to make Trump look bad. It would be hard to make this stuff up, yet here we are.
Here’s where I land. I don’t know what the future will bring, but I know there needs to be truthful, faithful witness. There needs to be critical, clear-eyed, insistent, and yes, compassionate witness.
In the gospel, Jesus says, “If someone strike you on the right cheek, turn the other also.” But this is not, at least in my reading, an invitation to more abuse. Rather, it is an invitation to witness. As in…, “See!” “See what violence is!” “See the truth of this injustice!” “See the results of oppression!” “See how it destroys relationship, community, and trust!” “See!” “See this for what it is!”
First Unitarian Denver has a long history of witness. We understand the need for witness. We understand that silence only benefits the oppressors, never the victims. We will continue to speak the truth. In faith, in Love, in lasting commitment to a better world.
See you in church, friends,