Why am I skeptical of all petitions and schemes to wrest the presidency away from Donald Trump? Because I believe that at best they would only delay the inevitable, since nearly half the country voted for him. What we would get in a Clinton presidency would only feed the anger and dismay of this half of the country. What we would get in a Pence presidency would do exactly what a Trump presidency will do but in a calmer fashion. At worst, taking the presidency away from Donald Trump could provoke a bloody revolution in the form of hate crimes and race murders far worse than what we’re seeing now.
I say, let the worst happen now. Let us progressive liberals be the “losers” and begin the hard work of seeing what our notion of progress has left out and the darkness it has stirred up, even while it has changed so much for the better.
I want to stop here and quote my teacher, Cynthia Bourgeault, on how difficult this course correction will be and how long it might take but I need to articulate something for myself. I need to make my own statement of faith. Here is an attempt.
I believe in evolution, in this sense: that Christ is drawing all things to himself. In more secular terms, love (in the scientifically verifiable form of attraction and complexification–see Teilhard de Chardin) is the force behind the formation and the evolution of life itself, and love continues to flow through and call human beings to a higher level of consciousness. But this flow is uneven, with many reversals. These reversals are not merely cyclical–history repeating itself; they are a spiral, bringing us each time to a different (more evolved) level. This evolution happens not in a generation or two or hundreds of years but over deep time. Our agony–speaking as a Christian progressive liberal–is in seeing where it must go but not being able to force it to get there on our timetable.
Meanwhile, in this time of clear reversal and in order to assure that the spiral goes up rather than down, we will have to protect with our bodies and our resources those whom we have sought to protect through laws. There are no shortcuts to raising the norms of society–this requires individuals directly, repeatedly, faithfully engaging in acts of compassion and protection. We can no longer assume that the government will do its job. Government, in fact, may become our enemy but, speaking for myself, the hurt will not be to me but to those on the margins. I will have to do much more to take responsibility for suffering people and the suffering earth. Part of this means petitioning and badgering government on their behalf but that must be backed up by an emotional, physical, and financial commitment way beyond anything I have practiced up to this moment.
People like me are losing heart right and left but I say we must gain heart, put our bodies on the line, go way beyond a rational commitment to what is right.
I am not prepared to do this. Therefore I must spend time and energy in preparation. This is spiritual preparation, grounded in the sure knowledge and experience of the love of God. The place where this happens most reliably for me is in the Christian community, but the model is Standing Rock. What we are in for is Standing Rock on a huge scale, in many forms, and the way we must meet it is through prayer, community, faithfulness, resistance.
What is your statement of faith? Let’s put our credos out there, test them against each other, refine them. It may feel risky–it does for me since I can imagine this brief and imperfect expression will trigger misunderstanding. But openness and vulnerability are part of spiritual preparation.