As a member of the North American liberal elite I was deeply saddened this week by the election of Donald Trump as president but I think far more deeply I am saddened as a Christian. My prayers are for all those who are vulnerable in our society and I continue to hope that love will prove stronger than hate.
In reviewing a book by Kathleen O’Connor on Lamentations I came across this paragraph which I believe is apropos, Kathleen is addressing the need to name suffering as the book of Lamentations does and the danger of repressing that reality:
“But for readers who live with denial, as the United States’ capitalist society requires, Lamentations makes difficult reading, indeed. Douglas Hall asserts that ‘covert despair – repressed hopelessness’ characterizes the spiritual condition of North American culture. Unlike the despair of the poor and afflicted around the globe who know too well their true condition, the despair of the dominant culture of North America is a denied despair, not merely hidden by wealth and power but forcibly refused. This is, of course, a survival tactic since humans ‘know at a deeper level than conscious thought, that survival depends upon hope’ (Hall). Despair, therefore, is not even allowed to the level of consciousness.”
Later in her book Kathleen offers this powerful phrase, “weeping is a political act”.
Over the past few months we have heard a lot of angry talk coming from America. I think it is time for sorrow and tears, it is time to lament the divisions that plague not only our neighbours to the south but at times our own land. It is time to face our despair in the face of terrorism, the growing gap between rich and poor, the continued systemic violence against women, the phenomenally high rate of people forced to become refugees, and the continued wounding of our planet. These are all good reasons to weep and if we do not grieve appropriately than anger will consume us.