What Have You Done To Us America?

If the phrase "Leader of the Free World" means anything at all, which, actually, it does,  Donald Trump is my president too even if I didn't get to vote for him. So I woke this morning, sick to my stomach. In a nation of 318.9 million people; in a country which has produced Lincoln and Susan B Anthony, Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost, Bob Dylan and Billie Holliday, Martin Luther King and the Obama family, this ignorant, unread, shallow, dangerous buffoon is all they can come up with? Really? The only one of my several degree certificates which actually hangs on a wall is from an American seminary. I love the United States, well, bits of it at least, almost as much as I love my own country. But right now, though I now greatly fear it,  I cannot respect it.

This nightmare is a sobering reality check. Last night my brother Guhyavajra wrote on his Facebook page,

"The myth of politics is that it can ultimately sort out the human predicament and it can't. Trump is simply the latest Emperor in a corrupt empire and no President, even Obama, is above the workings and machinations of a nations political process and bureaucracy. Another myth is that the liberal politically correct left is synonymous with spirituality and enlightenment itself... [it is a ] a fact that the social democratic liberalism of the first world has an ecologically unsustainable belly of consumption based in other peoples poverty..."

Here is the proof, if ever we needed it, of our spiritual bankrupty. Guhyavajra is right. We, all of us in the West, have lost our way.  We watch and read dross. The brightest of us confuse our intellectual fashions with enlightenment. We hold to the obscene parodies of the Gospel promoted by Creflo Dollar or Pat Robertson. We rejoice in the cheapness of our clothing or our iPhones and try not to think too hard of the lives of those who made them for us. We get, as always, the leadership we deserve. 

Last night as the news unfolded my three children Skyped and we held a glum, shocked, disbelieving conversation from Dunedin and Christchurch and Sydney and London. Then Clemency and I went and lay on our bed and, so that we might think of something else, I read her a chapter from Middlemarch. From 140 years ago, an intelligent and well informed woman spoke, with eloquence and wit, deep into the human condition. It was a draught of clear cool water. The world still turns. This too will pass. 

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. (Psalm 20:7) For now, all that is left to me is prayer. 

God bless America. God bless us all.


Elaine Dent said…
Your words are kind given what we have done. Many of us are devastated. It will take a few days to step back, grieve for our nation and gather up our hope again. Suddenly the practice of being a faithful disciple as I understand it seems daunting and risky---even in my own congregation. We will need courage to raise our truth-telling voices to people who now feel permission to say the meanest of things. We will need perseverance to be salt and light and leaven...and simple educators about stuff like the reality of climate change precipitated by our consuming actions which may now run rampant. But it's hard to be a prophet and a priest at the same time. Pray for us. We actually need the encouragement and voices of you our friends beyond our borders more than ever.
Leo Te Kira said…
11 days on Bishop Kelvin I'm still waiting for someone to say "Wake up ... wake up ... it was only another one of those surreal dreams you have sometimes Leo"