I heard a story once about a Jewish man who prayed near a fence at a concentration camp during the Holocaust. A friend came to him and asked, “What are you doing?” The man replied, “I’m thanking God.” Looking at the devastation around him the friend asked, “What could you possibly be thanking God for, haven’t you seen where we’re at?” The man looked at the Nazi soldiers on the other side of the fence and said, “I’m thanking God that we’re not like them.”
I read in an article today that immigrants can be deported without a court hearing, and that The Monster wants it to happen more often. I also watched the Academy Award winning new documentary on Netflix called The White Helmets and wept as the reality of the Syrian refugee crisis became more real with footage of bombs falling on a daily basis and children pulled out from the rubble.
I then look on the other side of the fence and see friends who support The Monster declaring a love for America and a happiness because they had their way. And I feel my heart pull in many directions. . .
. . .
. . . and I stop . . .
. . .
I’ve let them pull me long enough. I’ve let them affect my emotions long enough. I’ve let them ruin my day so much longer than enough.
I am not comparing The Monster and his supporters to Hitler and the Nazis—not literally. But I realize they’ve taken more than our election—they’ve taken our peace.
I know that like me, you bleed with the immigrant, the refugee, the Muslim, the sick with pre-existing conditions, the trans boy and girl, and with those who feel isolated because of color. That pain is constant and exhausting, is it not? This anger deep down in our gut is real—it lingers there like a cancer drilling into our subconscious getting us ready for the next fight. It energizes us as much as it exasperates us.
But guess what, it is also killing us.
In X-Men First Class, Magneto tries to move a giant antena with his developing powers. In the story, he was a victim and lost his mother at the hands of the Nazis and now carried a burdensome weight on his heart which he often sharpened like a knife preparing for what he believed was fair payback. Professor X approaches him and says, “You know, I believe that true focus lies somewhere between rage and serenity.” He then uses his psychic powers to help Magneto unlock a beautiful memory from his past. A memory he had locked and buried deep within in order to make more room for that satisfying rage that fueled his quest for vengeance.
And that is exactly what we’re doing.
We look to the other side of the fence and we see them, those who voted red and feel our blood boiling beneath our skin. We turn on the news and see our brothers and sisters in turmoil and our forehead reveals the pressure in our veins. We get flashbacks of that fateful day in November when time stood still and our hopes were crushed and replaced with a sense of uncertainty—a punch on the gut that left us without air. But they’ve taken enough from us, haven’t they?
I oppose The Monster because he infected my loved ones with a virus of hate. They dismissed it as a character trait and not as a symptom of madness. But I’m no longer letting them take me down with them.
I oppose The Monster because he divided my country by promising prosperity to the crowd before him at the expense and ridicule of minorities under his shoe. They dismissed it as tough love and not as a sign of wickedness. But I am no longer letting it consume my heart.
I oppose The Monster because he brainwashed the faithful with promises of an imposition of their values by the strength of the government. They accepted it as the will of their Maker and the voice of the people—their people—and not as evidence of manipulation. But I am no longer attaching my sanity to their capacity to reason beyond creed.
It is not November but I want to raise my heart to the sky and be thankful. I want to raise it above the turmoil and sadness. I want to elevate it above the judgement and bickering. I want to lift it above the present and see beyond the wall of despair. . . because I still feel. I feel for those who don’t have my skin color or immigration status. And I’m thankful because I can speak on their behalf. I feel for those discriminated because of faith, zip code, and identity. And I’m thankful that I can love even those I strongly disagree with without imposing my views on their freedom. I feel for those who cry, for those who hide, for those who tremble at every lie, at every judgement, at every attack. I am thankful that I can stand, that I can march, that I can speak up for humanity in its most vulnerable form—when the villain has them by the throat while thanking his crowd for the chance to do so. I am thankful that having no god in my life I haven’t sacrificed emotion and having no political affiliation I haven’t betrayed my mind.
I see what they’ve done and what they let him do. But I’m not like that. Call me what you want, but I’m thankful for that.