Tag Archives: white nationalism

Another day, another tragedy: What do we say now?

Every day and in the United States in particular, we experience one deception, one violation, one scandal, one mass shooting, one assault on our collective reasoning, one attack on our decency after another.  Social media catches it all and acts more like a net, a web.  I can’t shake it though I want it off of me.  I am ensnared by what I read and see.  What I know often paralyzes me with fear or it sticks to me and I take it where ever I go.  “Be afraid.  Be very afraid.”

Tonight is no different.  I am sitting on my bed and wondering, “What do we say now?”  Reminded yet again of the world our words create, I am struggling to find them.  I know that I have them around here somewhere but I do not have the energy to look, the desire to try to give hope one more chance.

I want to say, “Things will get better” but it doesn’t sound right.  I need to say, “Be still my soul and know who your God is” as she paces frantically back and forth.  But, those words won’t come to me no matter how many times I ask them to.

And a cat does not have my tongue but I wouldn’t feel it if she did.  I think that I am numb.  Because I can’t keep feeling like this and survive.  I am slowly shutting down.

Mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburg.  He wanted “to kill Jews,” the deadliest in U.S. history.  Two African American grandparents were killed at a Kroger grocery store in Kentucky.  The shooter tried to enter a African American- led church before committing this heinous act.  Fourteen bombs sent to political leaders, a benefactor and a vocal Trump critic.  All in the same week.  What can I say?

The news is breaking me and it is taking me longer to piece my thoughts together these days.  It is harder to believe in our shared humanity when we are divided in these ways.  These words pile up and around me.  I am trying to clean up my act, to get my act together.  I sort through my letters, trying to form words that make sense– because this doesn’t make sense.

What are we saying about each other and to ourselves if this is the response?  White nationalism. Xenophobia.  Political Terrorism.  The world is not getting smaller but we are.  Despite the speed of our internet connections, we are shrinking, shirking our duty to love, to listen, to learn from each other.  Replaced with words like echo chamber.

But, I don’t want to hear this anymore.  I want to say something different so that I can see something different.  Because these words are not working for me.  This cannot continue to be our reality.  Another day, another tragedy, what do we say now?

America First and the last time we heard it

Image result for dr. seuss america first cartoonAmerica first.  For some, this slogan sounds like we are getting our priorities together.  We need to focus on our economy and give jobs to real Americans– as if the persons who are employed at these businesses are not real people with real needs.   Still, we need to take from them in order give it to us.  Because “this land is my land.”

This is the language of privilege and American exceptionalism, the belief that America is inherently different from other nations and that this difference is divinized in our favor.  “We are the chosen ones and we can take what we want.  It belongs to us– even if you have it.  Stop working and give the job to me.”

There is a segment of the American population who feels that Donald Trump is going to pay attention to them, that he is putting the needs of their communities and families first.  “And it’s about time that we start to focus on us.”  We need to stop helping immigrants, refugees and other persons in vulnerable spaces.  They need to work for citizenship; they have to prove themselves if they want to come here, if they are to be counted as members of our society.

Get to the back of the line.  America first.

Hand it over.  America first.

Get out.  America first.

For Christians, the problem with this slogan is that it is not Christ- like.  Jesus teaches as recorded in the gospel of Matthew: “Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give this last the same as I give you.  Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me?  Or are you envious because I am generous?  So the last will be first, and the first will be last” (20.14-16).  And it is not a new campaign.

One of more than 400, Dr. Seuss’ (or Theodor Geisel) political cartoon above is dated 1941.  It was created during the time of Hitler’s reign.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so.

Christ did not come so that we could push and shove people out of the way, so that we could save the best for ourselves, so that we could hoard the land.  Christ came to save the world in the name of Love– not for our nationalistic enterprises.  And you would think that we would know this by now.

His words were first and will outlast these.  It’s not America first; it’s God first.  Any other expression is out of order but I am certain that this won’t be last time that we hear it.

Additional Reading

Jennie Rothenberg Gritz, The Atlantic, “When Dr. Seuss took on Adolf Hitler“, January 15, 2013.