The power of uncertainty about everything

Crazy Faith Ministries

When the president-elect was running for office, he frequently said something to the effect that he didn’t want everybody to know what he would do in certain situations or how he was thinking.

That was an understatement.

This incoming president seems to major in creating an aura of uncertainty so that nobody, not even, it seems, those who are closest to him, knows what he will do or what he is really thinking.

The uncertainty about almost everything that will affect Americans and the world is troubling and unsettling. Nobody can “call” what the next step will be; nobody knows what this new president is all about, not when it comes to policy and having the best interests of Americans in mind.

And yet, there is power in uncertainty. To be honest, Americans have never had “certainty” when it has come to government and its policies. Politicians say what they must in order to win elections, but once in office, often change course. Sometimes the change comes because they learn things they didn’t know before, and promises they made cannot be kept, but sometimes, the change comes because they never intended to keep those campaign promises. A campaign is not an honest endeavor, and neither is government.

The uncertainty we face now is daunting. We have a president-elect who is so narcissistic that even now, as his inauguration looms ever closer, he is more concerned with tweeting his opinions and emotions than with dealing with the issues in front of him. He is antagonizing the United States security forces and buddying up to Vladimir Putin, who may well be America’s greatest enemy, a man who seems to be playing our president-elect like a fiddle. We have a Republican-controlled Congress and Senate, filled with people who, it seems, do not care about the poor, about women, or about America’s marginalized; we are not sure if we will have Medicare or Medicaid; we are not sure if Planned Parenthood, which provides health care to the poor, will be defunded, we are not sure if millions of people who got health care under the Affordable Care Act will have health care by the time the GOP is finished repealing that law. We are not sure if the voting rights of African Americans, put in place by the Voting Rights Act of 1965, will be completely or nearly completely abrogated by the GOP.

There are so many vital issues that affect the 99 percent of Americans who are not wealthy, who are not male, White and Protestant, and too many of whom can barely exist, that seem to be outside the scope of interest and concern of the GOP and the incoming president. The cloud of uncertainty is hovering low.

And yet, African Americans have lived with uncertainty from the time we were brought to the New World, and we have never let it stop us. We live in hope, we inhale hope, we believe in hope, which, as Paolo Friere wrote in Pedagogy of Hope, is necessary in order for us even to begin the struggle for justice. He said that “without the struggle, hope dissipates, loses its bearings and turns to hopelessness. And hopelessness can turn to tragic despair.”

One of the best qualities about being African Americans is that we know uncertainty. We know darkness. We know about what a “dark night of the soul” feels like, and yet, we have never stopped working to get to the light. We have learned to push ourselves to stand up when we have been forced down. We have grabbed hold to the slightest threads and with our hope, have turned thin threads into hardy ropes which we have used to help us climb out of darkness and away from despair.

We are that kind of people.

And so, even as we watch and listen to what is going on now as this new president moves into power, we are equipped and we have the power to hold on until the winds of this storm pass. We will get through this.

It is our legacy as African Americans. We cannot afford to forget that. No uncertainty is greater than our capacity to hope. And at the end of the day, when the current administration has wreaked havoc, causing many to despair, we will still be standing, still struggling, still moving in our hope toward the rights and dignity which are ours.

Dr. Susan K Smith is founder/director of Crazy Faith Ministries, and is also communications consultant for the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference Inc. She is available for preaching and teaching. Contact her at revsuekim@sbcgloba.net.

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