I wonder what the weather was like the day Rome fell?
Was it sunny? Did the citizens suspect that today was the day, the nation they thought impenetrable would be terminally penetrated? I wonder what history will write of the day president Donald Trump launched an insurrection against American democracy? For the record it began with a grand anomaly, Mitch McConnell actually attempting a moment of valor on the Senate floor. Yet those of us with a memory span exceeding that of 2 minutes, remained sober and disheartened by his complicit participation in events that lead to the travesty unfolding on television screens across America. Was there a moment of nostalgia? The thought that a stand for truth on this day, may remind some of the America we once were and the hallmarks of what once made us a great nation. A mantle that we may never again return too. Too late! They’re here now. They have stormed the capitol. Lawlessness is afoot. Like many, with arrogance, I overlooked the fragility of our democracy. I took the recognition of truth, the adherence to facts, the standards of our constitution and the agreement to its principles for granted. I assumed that no matter what happened, on those things, at least, we would be anchored in a shared allegiance to the sanctity of our founding. It seems foolish now. Especially given my understanding of history and biblical truth. America was always an experiment. A belief that ALL were created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. A divine vision, that while crafted, contained the paradox that the very men who wrote of our audacious pursuit, did so while denying others of the equity they so esteemed. We were failing at the onset! But today’s failure hits harder because it is evidence of our injury. We were supposed to be better than this. But pride cometh before the fall and the enemy of God is well aware of our fault lines. Satan knew exactly who to raise up and how. Donald Trump has proved to be the perfect puppet of our demise. A loudmouth liar, a corrupt con man, a narcissistic troll, whose need for power is only surpassed by his need for attention.
But still, he was the joke of our disdain, how could we have seen it coming? Or more to the point, how could we NOT see?
Did we think the open wound of white supremacy and our subsequent trauma left unattended would bare no fruit? Did we suspect the gravity of our miseducation and our reverence for bravado over bravery, and opinions over fact would have no consequences? Who did we think the assault on truth and decency would reward? The unjust and the unconscionable are having their say.
Listen, can you hear them? They gather now at the Capitol to dissolve the grand American experiment. Rome fell. Why not we? C.S Lewis is one of my favorite authors. In his book, The Screwtape Letters, he fancies the whims of satan. He writes of the breach of Heaven by an angel consumed with the love of self, the need for power and the lust for autocratic rule. Who, after his fall, despised the liberty and love God lavished on creation and set about to infiltrate and destroy it. And before you read anything into that reference, no, I do not think that Donald Trump is satan. Just like I do not believe that Hitler was satan, nor Mussolini nor Idi Amin. What all of these men have in common is the fruit of that fallen angel. What I now understand about America is this: Though we began the great American experiment in failure, the vision of what we could be was earnest and divine. The idea of the many becoming one in liberty, belief and respect of our shared humanity was a godly concept. And even though we struggled to fulfill this notion, year after year, we moved toward it, in tattered unity, resolute. So of course the enemy of God would use the least of us to attempt to destroy what’s best in us. Donald Trump is the least of us. And like the mad men before him, he has set out to KILL our democracy, STEAL our liberty and DESTROY our belief in humanity. He has done so without thought or care to the lives that will be lost or the damage it will do. And like the madmen before him, his reign of evil will not be without expiration. I read the Bible, I know how this ends. God wins in the end. But sadly, America may be a casualty of Donald Trump. A nation destroyed from within by the insidious plot of a man with no care for country or citizen. A fracture, that I fear may be too deep to mend.
What will they write of you America? A shining city on a hill, a story of hope that once was but never fully realized. Or will you rise from this season like Germany of old, ashamed and anxious to redeem the horror of your deception? I have a mustard seed of hope for you America, and I read somewhere, that somehow, that may just be enough.