Park Hill Congregational UCC - Denver, Colorado
Daily Reflection - January 7, 2021
Rev. Dr. David Bahr, Pastor
Thank you, Mr. Trump (again).
I was reminded this morning of a piece I wrote the day after Mr. Trump tear gassed and shot rubber bullets into peaceful protestors so he could stage a photo op in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, awkwardly holding a Bible. I told him thank you. I thanked him for not entering the church, not opening the bible, not uttering a single word. Thank you, I said, for simply making it baldly obvious that it was just a publicity stunt for his supporters, momentarily even unnerving some of them. But only momentarily.
I thought of that moment and many more, like Charlottesville, this morning when trying to discern what I should offer in the way of a daily reflection. Like all of you, I am shocked, appalled, and saddened. I was stunned, but, like many of you, ultimately not surprised. As many others have said, it was exactly what he wanted. He loved it. He loved the unhinged devotion, as any cult leader does. He told the Proud Boys and everyone missing the glory days of slavery and lynching and segregation to come to Washington because it’s going to be wild. He ginned up the crowd and sent them to the capitol. To drink the Kool Aid.
In my own life, I have been trying to focus on gratitude. At our gratitude group on Tuesday night, I asked the 17 participants to share what they were grateful for in 2020. Don’t just be glad it’s a new year. For what are you grateful? It was a wonderful conversation.
Yesterday’s shameful activities deserve the same question. I do not mean to diminish the terror inflicted on members of Congress. I do not mean to dismiss 4 dead people because of that coup attempt. Pause for a moment to recognize the trauma to our country.
But for what might we be grateful in the aftermath of yesterday’s insurrection attempt?
I am grateful because the evil of acts of men must exposed to the light of day. It is necessary for change. Yesterday was disturbing. And hopeful. There were no winks and nods and dog whistles. KKK members used to walk around in hoods. Today they wave Trump flags and wear red MAGA hats. White supremacy was on full display. Without masks to hide. An act of desperation. It was, I pray, the last gasping breaths of a death rattle. It’s not gone. This isn’t over. But yesterday was a turning point. Politicians who disingenuously denounce violence but still support the lie of a fraudulent election are on notice. You are a hypocrite. The people who vote for them are on notice. We are moving forward as a rainbow nation of all races, creeds, and colors. Yesterday backfired. And moved us a little closer to a world that is open, inclusive, just, and compassionate. And for that I am grateful.
But it also can’t stand as a disturbing moment in time, momentarily even moving Lindsay Graham to flip flop once more and denounce the president. We may wish to look away, to rush forward to two weeks from now and breathe a sigh of relief that our long national nightmare is over. We can’t. Mr. Trump must be held accountable. He must be impeached again. I expect that some of the mask-less rioters will be arrested – all of them should be. But the man who told them to drink the Kool Aid must ultimately pay the highest price.
So, thank you, Mr. Trump, for making your intentions obvious enough that everyone can see clearly that you must be stopped. This morning we pray for the restoration of calm and peace and decorum in the Capitol. We pray for the soothing of the nerves of scared citizens. But I also pray that God fill members of Congress with enough shame and disgust that they won’t walk too quickly away. Enough is enough.
Thank you, Mr. Trump.
I love being the