The Deadly Consequences of a Toxic Presidency | Sojourners

The Deadly Consequences of a Toxic Presidency

Today we witnessed with shock and moral outrage that our democracy is fragile and in peril. Today we saw an assault on our democracy. We saw a violent insurrection turn what is normally a quiet but sacred procedure to certify electoral votes and ensure a peaceful transfer of power into a dangerous spectacle of sedition and political malfeasance.

But in the midst of this peril, we are called to lean into God’s presence and stand on God’s promises. We must stand on the promise that God is a rock in a weary land. Today we are weary of hate, we are weary of lies and conspiracies about a stolen election and fraud, we are weary of the politics of division and vitriol. We are weary of the corrosive cancers of white nationalism and white supremacy that disfigure and threaten our democracy.

Today we remember that during his inauguration on the Capitol steps, President Donald Trump promised to end what he described as “American carnage.” Instead, over the past four years, we have experienced the carnage of his mendacity, the carnage of his narcissism, the carnage of his relentless efforts to stoke fear, fan the flames of division, and even incite violence — all of which led up to and helped cause today’s tragic events. The violence we witnessed at the Capitol today revealed the ugly consequences of a toxic presidency that has been enabled by far too many Republican politicians and, painfully, by far too many Christians.

But we must also stand on the promise that God is a bridge over troubled water. Today was also a day of such pregnant hope and possibility. A day in which we learned that the state of Georgia elected its first African American senator, Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, and Jewish filmmaker and activist Jon Ossoff. The majority of voters in a deep Southern state seemingly rejected Trumpism. We can stand on the rock and work to insist that today is the last gasp of Trumpism.

While today may be a dark one, we remain prisoners of hope. We know that truth will prevail, justice will prevail, and, by coming together across many of our differences to advance the common good, our democracy will prevail. Today our nation can and must be reborn. How do I know this? Because my faith tradition promises that through Christ all things can be made new (Revelation 21:5), that we are made more than conquerors (Romans 8:37), that no weapon formed against us shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17), that perfect love casts out fear, and that the truth will set us free (John 8:32).

Today we must redouble our commitment to root out the contagious virus of lies, grievances, and conspiracy theories that provided the gasoline for today’s attempted coup. Today let us pray fervently for the safety of every member of Congress; every police officer and national guardsperson that is seeking to restore peace to the streets of Washington, D.C.; for every journalist; and every person that may still be in harm’s way. Let us pray for every Trump activist and sympathizer, because we are called to pray for those who oppose us, even our enemies. Out of the ashes of today, let us work tirelessly to give birth to a radically more just and more inclusive nation — a more perfect union. Let us build bridges over the troubled waters of hate, fear, and grievance to create the beloved community, to yank down some pieces of heaven, and help make God’s kingdom come onto earth — come onto the United States of America — as it is in heaven.

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