Yesterday, a leader in the Presbyterian Church (USA) posted something on Facebook he thought was cute. While on a tour of Washington D.C., the guide mentioned that things were in place for the President’s arrival by helicopter. The guide said that Trump would drop in between the White House fountain and the White House. My Presbyterian brother asked if we could drop him from 10,000 feet. Reportedly, the bus erupted in laughter.
I commented, “Interesting that we live in a culture where someone can joke about killing the president and others just laugh.” He replied, “When the President is a joke, what do you expect?”
What do I expect? Damn good question!
I expect us, as followers of the Prince of Peace, to model something different. I expect us to discipline our tongues as Jesus’ brother James admonished. I expect us to have an allegiance that goes far beyond the corrosive division spreading like cancer in our nation.
I do not support Trump. I am opposed to his policies on the environment, immigration, and health care. I won’t even get into examining his character revealed in one tweet after another. I am working locally and internationally to counter his Administration’s policies.
But his election has had a curious effect on me. Rather than radicalize me, it has drawn me further into the center. Why? Because like never before, I see the toxic underbelly of what we call the “progressives movement.”
It’s too easy to traffic in memes about peace and justice. It’s too easy to fly a banner that quotes Gandhi’s, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
The real test is to live it out. I have been listening and watching, and here is what I see. We progressives can be just as controlling and insistent about our world views as any fanatic on the right. Our comments, like the one I mentioned above, can be just as incendiary as right-wing bigots. We call for others to repent of their racism, classism, and homophobia, but fail to remove the planks in our own eyes, thus contributing to the disease eating America from its core.
I’ve been guilty of it myself, and I am sorry.
A few weeks back I linked to an article by David Brooks in the New York Times. Here’s an excerpt.
“Some people treat the Trump White House as the ‘Breaking Bad’ serial drama they’ve been binge watching for six months. For some of us, Trump-bashing has become educated-class meth. We derive endless satisfaction from feeling morally superior to him — and as Leon Wieseltier put it, affirmation is the new sex.”
I’m going to work on recovering from my addiction to political controversy and polarization. I can only hope that my other brothers and sisters who are Christian leaders will do the same.