Sunday, July 24, 2016

Be Not Afraid

Right now, I find myself neither driven by fear of various dark-skinned outsiders to support Donald Trump's presidential campaign, nor by fear of what Donald Trump might do as president to compromise my principles to support Hillary Clinton's campaign. My current attitude is probably summed up by my currently pinned tweet:


This seems to put me outside the experience of many of my fellow Americans.

In reflecting on why that is, I've come up with a few reasons.

Privilege

I am a white Christian male living in a nice neighborhood skilled in what is currently the most in-demand profession, with a steady job at one of the most successful companies in American history in a job directly aligned with its central identity. So, I am not terribly vulnerable to the forces Donald Trump warns about, nor would I be vulnerable to the actions he might take to address them. The same is generally true for most of the people I come in contact with. Christianity may be enjoying less cultural clout than it had before, but Catholicism is currently led by someone enjoying widespread approval and support.

Obviously, I should not need to be personally impacted by circumstances or actions in order to be moved to action by them. But I want to acknowledge the possibility that one reason I may not be as disturbed as others are is that I am fairly insulated.

Trauma

Somewhat paradoxically, another reason this may not be impacting me is what I have been experiencing in my own life.

As I have mentioned, I am the father of a daughter with a chronic fatal disease. This may leave with a bit of "empathy fatigue."  It's hard to get worked up about what Starbucks's' cups look like, or whether someone is using the right word in referring to a group of people when you live with a constant knowledge that your life could be thrown into chaos at any moment.

On the political macro side, I am also pro-life. From my perspective, we are daily killing thousands of unborn children a day, and the political and cultural winds seem to be moving to increasing support.

Given that, while other injustices certainly merit our attention to address, it's difficult for them to rise to the level of existential panic that I seem to be seeing. While I don't completely share Fredik de Boer's assessment of George W. Bush, I am in agreement that we have seen much worse than Donald Trump and survived it.

Faith

And I think this is where I finally hang my hat, especially in light of this weekend's readings. I worship a God who listens to my prayers. Who took my sins to the Cross and then rise from the dead. Who would not a destroy a city because it is inhabited by 10 just souls. How should I be afraid of a real estate "tycoon" who probably won't win, or immigrants, or economic turmoil. My God is greater than all that, and so should I be.

This is not to say that we don't face real problems, or that we don't need to take action to confront them, or to prevent creating new ones. But let's do so out of confidence and spirit, not out of fear.

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