Do I Need to Write About This? That was the first thought that entered my fuzzy head when I woke up to the news that the President had been impeached. I don’t want to write about this. It’s Christmas; I’ve got a lot going on.
But, to not write . . . To ignore it all. What would that mean?
I don’t like the President. Never have. Should he be impeached? Probably. For his attitude toward and treatment of women—that would be a good idea. Then, of course, there are the myriad other issues—the border, climate change, white nationalists, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress . . . the list goes on and on. Or how about that signature? That must be a crime of some kind.
Yet, I find myself in this strange limbo, not quite sure how I feel about the impeachment of the current President. For the most part, I really don’t want to think about him at all. It’s Christmas. But, I’m aware that my silence is not as satisfying as I would like it to be. While there’s a part of me that would like to ignore the whole wretched mess, I can hear a small voice from the back of my head chiding me for my cowardice.
The church that I serve, Old South (UCC) in Hallowell, Maine, may be a very small faith community, but it has a lot of people who pay attention to the world in which we live and of which we are part. Many Old South folk watch the news, read several newspapers each day, and engage in conversation about current events. Several people watched quite a lot of the hearings. On a recent Sunday, as I was blithely focusing on Advent and not saying anything about politics, one of Old South’s long-time members raised a hand during joys and concerns—“I think we should pray for our country and the leaders of this country and everything that’s going on right now.”
I felt like I had been brought up short. I hadn’t said anything about what’s been going on in the country—not because I hadn’t been paying any attention. But, simply because I didn’t want to. I just didn’t want to think about it, didn’t want to pray about it.
On the one hand, I am completely disgusted with the President, and what I’ve seen of the tone at rallies that the President has attended and the numerous tweets he is so fond of sending out. The level of sheer meanness and animosity is deeply distressing. The President (and many of his supporters) could use a visit from the ghosts of A Christmas Carol, in an attempt to remold his hard, cold, ungracious soul. But, then there are those with whom I generally agree when it comes to political issues. I’ve noticed there, too, what feels like a hardening in the rhetoric regarding the “other side.” In my book group, for instance, one person mercilessly rails against her work colleagues—many of whom voted for and like the current President—calling them uninformed and stupid.
It’s Christmas, the season where darkness and anxiety meet birth and vulnerability and light, where awe and wonder squeeze their way into a crusty, hardened landscape. But, that’s not how it feels this year. Instead, it feels like so many are simply going through the motions of the season, saying the appropriate words and doing what is done at this time of year, without any sense that there’s an important invitation here. The untransformed Scrooges and Grinches rule the day, greedy for the assurance of their own righteousness.
I’m not sure how I feel about what is happening in the country, nor what exactly to include in my praying. But, I’ll do my best to trust in that small light that struggles to find its way into hearts and minds, and trust that it will find a small bit of fertile ground to take root and grow, to be pondered and treasured.