By SUSAN K. SMITH
Crazy Faith Ministries
Last week, the country was fed spoonsful of hope through the words of various speakers, including Vice President Joe Biden, now formally the Democratic candidate for president of the United States, Sen. Kamala Harris, the vice-presidential candidate, and ordinary citizens who we never hear from, like 13-year-old Brayden Harrington, who, like the vice president, struggles with stuttering.
The entire four days for me felt like a process of being hydrated. The past three and a half years under this administration have been devastating for my soul. The lack of leadership, even as the administration has systematically dismantled the government as we know it, has been exhausting and alarming to watch. The movement toward authoritarianism, again, has followed a script that failed democracies in history have followed.
It feels like this country is in deep trouble, and even if Biden manages to win the presidency, the damage that this president and his administration has done will take decades to repair.
What is before us, the Republican National Convention, will probably suck all of the hydration my soul received last week out of my spirit. We will hear lies, we will hear brutal attacks on the persons of both Biden and Harris, we will hear lies about how effective this administration has been in fighting the coronavirus, and we will hear how well this president has handled the economy – in spite of millions being out of work due to the virus while the very wealthy continue to reap the benefits of this public health disaster.
We will also see ads designed to feed the fear of White people – especially senior citizens – who are inclined to believe that Black people are, simply, bad people. We will see attack ads featuring the scared faces of elderly White people who are cringing because they think someone is breaking into their homes, and we will see the lie presented that Biden and Harris want to get rid of all police. We will see pictures of protests where there has been violence – completely ignoring the fact that much of the violence was caused and continues to be caused by White provocateurs, who have historically made their way into protests staged by Black people peacefully fighting for their rights as American citizens.
We will hear this president promise to send federal troops into cities where there has been street violence, posing as the “strongman” who will be, in fact, the “law and order president,” even as all of his closest political allies have either been arrested and charged with felonies or already convicted of the same and are serving or are about to serve, prison time.
It will be a brutal week.
This president will say – as he is already saying – that if Biden wins the election, nobody will be safe. He will say that American freedoms will be taken away – even as he voices support for the Second Amendment and promises to punish those who exercise their First Amendment rights. Just this week, the legislature in Tennessee passed a law that will make it a felony for people to protest, and the president is asking the Supreme Court to ban people from Twitter who criticize him, according to The Washington Post.
There will be little mention of the hundreds of thousands of people who have died from COVID-19. There will likewise be little mention of the millions who are unemployed who have yet to receive monetary help, and there certainly will be little mention of the very wealthy whose wealth has increased during this horrific time. There will be rants about how mail-in voting is a problem, leading to a rigged election, with few news people willing to say that it is the president who is rigging the election already by spreading this false narrative.
We need to brace ourselves – but we also need to hold onto our faith and our hope. In spite of voter suppression, we need to continue to plan our vote; those voting absentee need to apply for their ballots now. Everyone needs to visit any number of sites where you can check your registration or register if you have not already. Everyone who is registered needs to check their registration regularly to make sure that it remains valid; voter purging is going on and is rampant.
If ever there was a time to stand on one’s faith and work it, it is now. Prayerfully, more of us will step into the work of faith and step away from the frustration of brutal, damaging political rhetoric.
Our very lives depend on it.
Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith is the founder and director of Crazy Faith Ministries. Her latest book, Rest for the Justice-Seeking Soul, is now available through Barnes and Noble and Amazon. She is available for speaking. Contact her at email@example.com.