What Gets Reported
Likely, readers know that tens of thousands have marched in US cities and on campuses since one of two [in my opinion] totally unworthy candidates was elevated to high office. Some have been associated with lawless acts. This is the stuff which gets reported.
The response to the Portland OR protest apparently included ‘flash-bangs‘ [presumably military issue] grenades and declaration of a state of riot by police [apparently not city council]. Behind this response stand years of military/material and legal preparation to quell protest to the reactionary direction of the very policies represented in this month’s election.
I don’t know the identity of ‘some protesters [who] used rocks and baseball bats to smash the windows of businesses…’ I won’t rule out the possibility that police provocateurs initiated this behavior to manufacture a pretext for shutting down a protest. I simply don’t know.
What Isn’t Reported
Response to current political developments has another side. It is much more prevalent but is far less visible. Acts of vandalism, intimidation and other injurious offenses are not reported by media. Here are the things I heard this weekend from members of my immediate family and friends.
- A Muslim woman is told by friends they fear for her wearing her hijab.
- Swastikas were painted on the residences of six GLBTs in Raleigh, NC.
- A college student seeking a career in refugee/non-profits fears the degree she is seeking may now be worthless.
- Gays have been ridiculed on the public transit system in Cleveland, OH.
- Last week, a woman who works with refugees [when not caring for her husband with MS] realized she needs to find a new church. Over the weekend, this native born American decided she needs to leave the US.
- An eight-year-old refugee was told that he’ll have to return to Ethiopia.
That is what I’ve heard from immediate family and friends. One family. I’ve a daughter who is a chaplain in Chicago with whom I have not spoken in the past week. She may have more delightful and related stories to tell.
I may be wrong, but I believe present protests, attacks on residences, on women, children and other ostracized communities are not part of a ‘settling in’ after a particularly loathsome election. These are portents of things to come. And as political consciousness rises — and it will — the reason for the militarization of police and the virtual immunity of police from prosecution will become undeniably apparent to all except the most politically illiterate and partisan sycophants.
Church and Social Unrest
‘”You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. “You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. “If you afflict him at all, and if he does cry out to Me, I will surely hear his cry’ [Ex 22:21-23];
Like it or not, the church faces ministry in new societal context. Needed is a strong, principled stand beside the weak and maligned of society against an increasingly lawless and more violent state.
The appointment of the fascist Steve Bannon as a top advisor effectively reiterates Mr. Trump’s intention to imprison and deport millions.
The strong, principled stand for the strangers among us won’t come from the Democratic Party or the ‘liberal’ press. The capitulation of President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, plus anti-Trump editorialists Thomas Friedman, Nicholas Kristof and Paul Krugman all strengthen Trump to proceed with his heinous agenda.
If opposition to racism, chauvinism, privilege, bigotry and misogyny [to name a few identity issues] isn’t equated with opposition to the state, helping undocumented workers may be. And if Newt Gingrich gets his new House Committee on Un-American Activities, those who supported Trump expecting more freedom of religion may find themselves in deep trouble for practicing Ex 22:21.
But my guess is that you may reliable expect our Fundamentalist sects to wave the ‘law-and-order’ banners and to function as apologists of coming repression, however anti-Ex 22:21 and however barbaric it proves to be.
In the mean time, we can all reach out to someone known in our family circle who could use encouragement. Mine can’t be the only family that runs into this stuff.