This week we Americans watched as our Capitol was over run by domestic terrorists, right-wing extremists, white supremacists, nazis, & fascists – wanting to overthrow the government. Reading that it may seem like I am using hyperbole. I am not. They had t-shirts. They had t-shirts that said “camp auschwitz”, they flew the confederate flag in the capitol, they had “civil war” printed on their apparel and were intent on their coup. This is no exaggeration. They also, were incited and directed to do so at the urging of our President, Donald Trump.
The seriousness of the matter highlights our feelings of helplessness at home. We watched as our government had to evacuate. On the news reports came in that they were barricaded in their offices. Handed gas masks. We watched as the National Guard did not show up. We waited to see if in fact, the coup would be successful, and we could do nothing.
The messages we receive
The average American felt the panic and the fear. But the Black American also saw plainly the message of injustice. Contrast the events of yesterday with the events of this summer. Our peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors were violently brutalized by police for walking in public streets in an effort for their pleas to be heard that their lives do in fact matter. Yesterday, we witnessed video of those same police waving the insurrectionists on in to the capitol to complete their mission.
A lot of people online are saying “this is not America” – but yes it is. We have to say it is. Accept it. See it fully and truly. Because only then can we realize the depths from which it needs to change.
The problem with “getting along”
There are also others, mainly the evangelical side of the aisle that is calling for a “peace among both sides” “to end the divisiveness on social media” and just “love more like Jesus”. These messages are tone deaf, uneducated and show the naive privilege of the writers. I do believe prayers are necessary. I believe that God has work to do, and believers need to carry that out.
But you can’t do that with your eyes closed and these statements of “just get along” suggest that we do just that. It is okay to say what is wrong when it is wrong. When the devil tempted Jesus in the desert he didn’t say: you know let’s just find a compromise here, so we can cooperate. No, he told it like it was. Evangelicals today…please remember you can tell it like it is, and don’t condemn those who are.
Social justice issues are mental health issues. Systemic racism is a mental health issue. We need widespread acknowledgment first – then we need action.