As I perused Facebook this morning, anticipating a day of political posts about the inauguration, I saw many of my friends and associates proclaiming themselves broken hearted. I don’t know why but it stirred something up inside me. I couldn’t relate and I immediately felt a little repelled, so I’ve been sitting here thinking about it for a while. Broken-hearted. Hmm. Broken-hearted? I don’t think so. Angry. I feel angry. So angry, there is no room for broken-heartedness – and I think it’s important that people understand the difference.
Now, those that know me know that anger is probably my most accessible feeling – its where I feel the most comfortable, it’s the most familiar ground on which I work. I think this is pretty common for men, to default to anger in the face of an emotional situation. For me, more than ten years of depression blunted my emotional responses and my social conditioning as a child (with a father who channeled all other emotions through anger first) has gifted me with an over developed and functioning anger response. So, when I say that something pissed me off, people aren’t real surprised! This is a little different, though. This isn’t my normal default emotional response to a difference in political position; this isn’t just me being a crank. This is something that even emotionally healthy people should be triggered by.
- We have a president to openly mocked a disabled reporter on live tv and we all saw it
- We have a president who refused to release tax forms but admitted he hasn’t paid taxes in over a decade
- We have a president who has called for banning all Muslims, for rounding up Muslims, for creating a registry of Muslims all at various times.
- We have a president who wants to build a trillion dollar wall (that won’t work) between us and Mexico
- We have a president who suggested deporting millions regardless of context and situation
- We have a president who lied every 4 minutes during his campaign and famously lied about President Obama being from Kenya for years
- We have a president who believes his celebrity allows him to do anything up to and including sexual assault. Who thinks grabbing a woman by the pussy is just locker room talk.
- We have a president who paid 25 million dollars to the men and women he swindled with his phony university
- We have a president who was sued by the justice department for refusing to rent apartments to blacks
- We have a president who may well have knowingly colluded with the Russians to smear his political opponent.
- We have a president who has openly embraced white nationalist, white supremacist ideology in his campaign speeches and in his operations.
- We have a president who is petty (witness his twitter feed), mean, vulgar and grossly incompetent to be the president
I’m not broken-hearted about this. I was broken- hearted when my dad died. I’ve had moments in love wherein I’ve found myself broken-hearted. The first time my son told me he didn’t want me to sing him songs at bedtime I was broken-hearted. This is a whole different category. I’m not broken-hearted: I’m pissed. Being broken-hearted implies, for me, that one is a victim. I refuse to be a victim in this case. Instead, I’ll be pissed off and fight.
I’m angry at our political system, which is obviously broken. I’m angry at the sheer amount of money in politics that keeps good people from running and makes other good people spend all of their time fund raising rather than governing. I’m mad that money equals voice in this society, so voices like Trump will always be the loudest. I’m angry at the gerrymandering that makes correcting the money problem practically impossible.
I’m angry at my fellow white people. Literally, we are the worst. For hundreds of years we have enforced apartheid, oppression, slavery and worse in the United States and abroad. Now that society is beginning to even move towards (much less approach equality), White people want to shout about all the things they are losing. I remember during Obama’s first term, that old women telling a town hall, “I want my country back.” For those that once possessed everything, equality feels like a loss. That is short-sighted on our part and frankly is sinful. It exposes a hole in our souls that needs be examined and treated, not indulged.
I’m angry that Trump actually lost the popular vote by 3 million votes but will still claim a mandate.
I’m angry that my neighbors now live in terror of deportation: That my Muslim friends feel singled out and under threat: That millions will lose their insurance and that the safety net that protects the poorest will now be rolled back: that we no longer value accountability or transparency from our representatives: that racism and supremacy now feel free to creep out of the shadows: that a spirit of meanness now defines our highest office…I could go on.
I’m angry but I’m not helpless. I can organize. Millions already are. I can participate. I can speak up. I can say that this isn’t normal or acceptable. I can put my money where my mouth is. I can even run for office. So I’m not a victim. I have resources and privilege on my side.
I can afford to be angry but I can’t afford to be broken hearted.
Luke 4: 14-30
Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’” And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land;yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.