A few days ago I was seeing posts about the women’s marches being planned all over the country. In my discouragement I slumped and told myself I wouldn’t go to the one in Santa Barbara because, really, what could it do? I felt helpless and sad over the state of our country: because of the leader we somehow elected, because of the hate, because of the ignorance, because of the fear I could see in the eyes of my high school friends who are unsure of how this ‘wall’ is going to affect them and their families.
I’m tired and I’m afraid, and I feel like I did when my heart was broken last year. I remember wanting it to just all go back to how it was before: I wanted to reverse the break-up conversation and just stay with the person who had hurt me (and who laughed when I told him I was upset about being whistled at by a man driving by in his car). I wanted to pretend it was all okay. I wanted this because I knew that the work of facing my fear of being without him would exhaust me. I knew that it would be hard to heal and I wanted the easier path. But that’s not what I got: I hit a wall, and I had to learn how to climb.
Right now, I wish Trump would just go away. I wish we had done a better job of selecting our president. I wish we could go back to pre-Trump America – where teenage white males did not feel entitled to wave Trump flags in the faces of their Hispanic peers yelling, “go back to Mexico!” and where irresponsible college students didn’t steal the Feminist Society’s pins and destroy them for fun – oh wait, they still did. Really, I wish this whole damn change thing was easier (or just finished).
But we are not called to easy. We’ve been hit in the face with a wall (that many Americans have tried to ignore) and we have to do something about it. The great thing is Trump, in his narcissism and ignorance, has opened up a path for us to march; his election is catalyzing an awakening. He has shown us his cards, and has exposed the true, disgusting brokenness of our nation. The reality is, nearly half of our country was willing to bump the marginalized in their priorities – in the name of “better policies” and “not Hillary,” we elected a man who has encouraged despicable, racist and misogynist attitudes and thus shown our fellow humans that they matter less than these. It is completely undeniable that the work of MLK Jr isn’t over, and Trump has shown us just how much work we have left to do. It won’t be an easy march, and the path won’t be straight, but it is there in plain sight for all to see.
We’ve been hit in the face with a wall. America is weak and floundering in disunity. But I don’t know that this is a bad thing. Of course, if our ultimate calling is to fiercely defend America, by all means I will lay down my signs and give up my convictions – America will live on as it is now, a seeming success in the battle for human rights, ignorant of the work left to be done.
I’ve heard many Christians quoting Jesus’ words: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” in an attempt to settle the frustration over our political system and the results of this last election. We elected Trump, fair and square, so now we abide, trust the law that has been set before us, and let the chips fall where they may. But do we really believe that Jesus was preaching submission? Or even a compartmentalization of our lives? Jesus, who came into the world as a lowly infant, was still a subversive threat to King Herod. His preaching undermined the practices of the Pharisees (who catalyzed this conversation in the first place as they attempted to stump Jesus). His very life, death, and resurrection instated a new covenant, a new law of grace. The second part of what Jesus says fundamentally changes how we should read Jesus’ response: “and to God the things that are God’s.” Is our ultimate allegiance to our nation? I think not.
If our ultimate calling is to Christ, if our ultimate calling is to the humanity our God created, to the Kingdom he is bringing, then I’m going to keep marching for the rights this nation claims to uphold. I am going to continue to work for the coming of the Kingdom. I am going to allow my Christian convictions to impact my life-long pursuit of justice – in my work, my family, my community, my nation, my world.
As I flipped through Facebook this morning and saw incredible acts of solidarity from women all over the world I was reminded that we are united. Perhaps our nation isn’t, but I do not answer to America. Women (and their friends and families) from the Netherlands, Paris, Nairobi, Germany, North Carolina, Russia, and hundreds of other cities & nations marched today. That is pretty damn real unity, if you ask me.
Today, as we inaugurate a new stage of the climb for women, for minority communities, for immigrants, for those who identify as LGBTQ, I am excited. While I may disagree with the people I march with today on certain details, and while my experiences are different from many of the women I marched with today, we can stand as a united front, ready to take down this wall, ready to discover what true freedom is. We will not fear.
Today, we march. Tomorrow, we begin and/or continue the grueling, slow, difficult work of creating a shift in our culture: a shift away from prioritizing our own comfort at the expense of others, a shift away from hoarding power to sharing it, a shift outside of our own comfort zones as we pursue the justice all humans deserve. For the woman marching through Santa Barbara with the sign that read, “I can’t believe I’m still protesting this shit,” let’s get down to business.
Also, for a little herstorical joke…
(Taken from a random post I stumbled upon on Facebook…)