The events that transpired yesterday at the United States Capitol were disturbing and disheartening. I imagine many of you watched with fear and dismay as armed rioters stormed the Capitol building while our members of Congress took part in their constitutional duty to certify the Electoral College results of the 2020 Presidential Election.
I was angry and heartbroken as the group of extremists waved confederate flags and flags bearing the word “Jesus,” yelled and jeered, occupied lawmakers’ office, and threatened the safety of our legislators and law enforcement officers, let alone the safety of our democratic principles. Witnessing an insurrection at the seat of our nation’s democracy is all too much.
It was also not lost on many people, especially Black people and People of Color, that both white supremacy and white privilege were on display as this group of insurrectionists, egged on by the sitting President, wreaked havoc without meeting the same kind of violent force seen by Black Lives Matter protestors throughout the summer of 2020.
Bernice King, daughter of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, wrote on Twitter: “What many are saying is true: If this were Black Lives Matter storming the capitol, tanks would have been in the city by now. The response tells the story of our nation’s racist history and present. How can we stop it from being the future?”
As people of this country, we must grapple with the social, cultural, and political forces that led us to this point of such extremism. This work of awakening and understanding is necessary. The work of dismantling white supremacy is necessary.
Thankfully, we also witnessed yesterday the resiliency of our democracy and the results of tremendous grassroots organizing, led by many people of color, with the conduct of free and fair elections in the state of Georgia. We witnessed our national representatives in Congress continue their duties with conviction fulfilling their responsibility to certify the results of the 2020 Election.
We, as a nation, are better than the thuggery that was on display yesterday. Remnants of good and a potential for union still remain if we are willing to nurture it and coax it into fruition.
There is much for us as people of faith and conviction to unpack, digest, and process in light of yesterday’s events. That work will come.
In this moment, though, I encourage you to take care of your heart and spirit. Put into words or into movement or into art whatever you’re feeling in the face of this turmoil – sadness, rage, worry. Breathe deeply. Take a break from the news and social media feeds. Talk with a friend or loved one. There is so much to process with our minds and let us not neglect what our bodies, hearts, and spirits also need right now.
I will plan to hold space during Sunday’s Coffee Hour after our worship service for anyone wanting time together to further process yesterday’s events and what may transpire over these next few days.
Feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org in the meantime if you are needing a listening ear.