Day 19: ANGUISH
O Lord God of hosts,
how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
You have fed them with the bread of tears,
and given them tears to drink in full measure.
You make us the scorn of our neighbors;
our enemies laugh among themselves.
Y’all know what’s happening in North Carolina today?
The Republican governor, having finally – after a month of whining and complaining and manufacturing chaos – conceded the race to his Democratic challenger, got backed up by the Republican legislature that took over a special called session of the legislature to introduce measures to hamstring the new governor: the bill, essentially assured of passing the Republican-held GA, due to illegal gerrymandering, limits the number of positions the Governor can appoint (from 1,500 to 300), changes the make-up of Election Boards, re-establishes partisan elections for judgeships, makes a huge swath of the Governor’s appointees require Senate confirmation, modifies the appellate court process, and gives outgoing Governor McCrory power to appoint more agency heads before he leaves office.
Essentially, the losing party is refusing to cede power to the new, democratically elected leadership.
In other words: democracy is being blatantly and shamelessly destroyed.
I don’t put my ultimate faith in democracy – my Anabaptist theology warns me of the dangers of placing trust in political and government institutions.
But I am pretty appalled at the wanton disregard for law, convention, and basic morality on display here, today.
North Carolina is absurd. We are, in fact, the scorn of our neighbors.
But the way things have been going, North Carolina, scorn of the country, is actually pretty predictive of what’s coming in the larger political spectrum.
I hate politics. A lot. I would like to hide behind my radical reformation theology and say, with a self-satisfied sort of conviction that we could have predicted this, that plenty of people did predict it, that crumbling political infrastructure is the inevitable result of a spiritually-bankrupt people. Seriously, I could say, read any biblical prophet! Death comes to human power structures. Inevitably.
But that self-satisfied position is not one I can take honestly. Honestly? I am still feeling anguish. I am still feeling the privilege of surprise and despair. I am not as cool-headed, cynical and condescending as I would like to be. I am also not as clear-eyed, deeply-rooted and sure about where my allegiance and joy lie, either.
Instead, I am anguished, here in the middle, in North Carolina.