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The last 4+ years — especially the last ~10 months — had taken a bigger personal toll than I realized. I spent much of President-Elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ first speeches as duly & honestly selected leaders of this nation unabashedly tear-filled. The wave of relief was overwhelming. Hearing kind, vibrant, uplifting, and articulately + professionally delivered words was like the finest symphonic production compared to the ALL CAPS productions that we’ve been forced to consume for so long.
The outgoing (perhaps a new neologism — “unpresidented” — should be used since so much of what this person did was criminally unprecedented) loser did damage our nation severely, but I’m ashamed to admit just how much damage I let him and those that support and detract him do to me.
President-elect Biden said this as part of his speech last night:
And to those who voted for President Trump, I understand your disappointment tonight.
I’ve lost a couple of elections myself.
But now, let’s give each other a chance.
It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric.
To lower the temperature.
To see each other again.
To listen to each other again.
To make progress, we must stop treating our opponents as our enemy. We are not enemies. We are Americans.
The Bible tells us that to everything there is a season — a time to build, a time to reap, a time to sow. And a time to heal.
He went on to say:
Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end — here and now.
The refusal of Democrats and Republicans to cooperate with one another is not due to some mysterious force beyond our control.
It’s a decision. It’s a choice we make.
And, still, further on:
We stand again at an inflection point.
We have the opportunity to defeat despair and to build a nation of prosperity and purpose.
We can do it. I know we can.
I’ve long talked about the battle for the soul of America.
We must restore the soul of America.
Our nation is shaped by the constant battle between our better angels and our darkest impulses.
It is time for our better angels to prevail.
What President-elect Biden did was socially engineer a Matthew 18:21-35 on me/us since what he’s calling on us (me) to do is forgive.
Forgive the Resident in Chief.
Forgive his supporters.
Forgive the right and left radicals whose severely flawed agendas have brought us to the brink of yet-another antebellum.
Forgive the Evangelicals who sold out American Christianity for a chance to be court evangelicals and wield even greater earthly power than they already did.
Forgive owners of establishments and organizations that showed support for MAGA and the outgoing POTUS.
Forgive the extended family on my spouse’s side who proudly supported and still support what is obviously evil.
And, forgive myself for — amongst a myriad of other things — just how un-Christ-like my hate, disdain, and despair has increasingly consumed myself and my words/actions over the past 4+ years.
I wish I could say I’m eager to do this. I am not. The self-righteous, smug, superior hate and disdain feels pretty good, doesn’t it? It’s kinda warm and fiery in a wretched country bourbon sort of way. It feels soothingly justified, too, doesn’t it? I mean, hundreds of thousands of living, breathing, amazing humans in America died directly because of “these people” (ah, how comforting acerbic tribal terminology can be), didn’t they? How can I possibly forgive that?
Fortunately — yes, fortunately — I have to, and if you’re still reading this and feel similarly to the preceding paragraph, I would strongly suggest you have to as well.
I have to because it is the foundation of my Faith (which I seem to have let evil convince me to forget for a while) and because it’s a cancer that will eventually subsume me if I let it (and I already beat physical cancer once, so I’m not letting a spiritual, emotional, and intellectual one win either).
We all have to — on all sides, since “right” and “left” are far too large buckets — if Joe and Kamala have even a remote chance to lead America into healing.
Now, I am not naive. The road ahead is long and fraught with peril. We are a deeply divided nation. Repair will take decades if it happens at all.
I’ll start by striving to take Colossians 3:12-17 more seriously and faithfully than I have ever taken it before and be ready to perform whatever actions are necessary to help this be a time for myself and our nation to heal.
I say “strive” as I had planned to conclude with some “I forgive…”s, but I quite literally cannot type anything but ellipses after those two words yet. Hopefully it won’t take too long to get past that for most of the above list. I’m not sure forgiving the last item on it will happen any time soon, though.
Stay safe. Wear a mask. Be kind.