Most of us know when something doesn’t feel right in our minds and souls. We know when something is off, when something challenges what we’ve been taught as being right and proper.
Or do we? It seems there is no standard, objective measure of propriety or moral uprightness. We bring to the table some of what we were taught by our elders—parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers both grade school and Sunday School. And peers, for better or worse, not to mention the influence of constant media exposure and bombardment. All of that is tempered, embraced or discarded, as we experience life for ourselves and form our own opinions.
What makes the current times so maddening and difficult is that I see and hear video and sound bites and messaging that run counter to my understanding of what makes for moral integrity and virtue but which, at the same time, are embraced as those exact traits by others.
I watch the evening news, I tune in to my preferred “extra dose” news outlets for additional commentary and perspective. And I can’t—nor will I ever—understand how and why we can be at odds over such important things.
People who have a better command of the English language can weave a tapestry of lies and bullshit and convincingly pass it off as truth. Stephen Miller, Mitch McConnell, Josh Hawley and others are particularly adept at this. Donald Trump, on the other hand, knows just enough words to be considered literate. But they can all navigate any attack on a position and survive to fight another day. I’m sure there are Democrats who can do the same, but they’re not who I’m talking about at the moment.
The swirl of news that has come at us every day since before Trump was elected in 2016 has often landed as an assault on our ears and good judgment. Supposed “patriots” seem intent on defending the psyche of a nation that nurses old wounds, old prejudices, preserving and perpetuating them for new generations. It’s never been completely apparent to me why they’re holding on so tightly, why they can’t bring themselves to embrace progress and change.
I understand the desire to hold onto power. What I cannot grasp is their willingness to do so at the expense of their humanity and their honor. At its roots, how can this be fueled by anything other than racism and ignorance? And cowardice? When one peels back the layers of empty rhetoric and idle chatter offered up by the wordsmiths, the ugliness is right there for all to see: a death grip on the past. A blindness that refuses to acknowledge the equality of us all in the eyes of a God they claim to know and love.
Jesus was a product of his times and he had his blind spots, especially early on. But point me to a passage that proclaims he was cool with someone being treated as three-fifths of a person.
I wonder if he would have had an opinion on “the purity of the ballot box.”