From Election to Marching: Calling a Thing What It Is, or We Are Not the Crazy Ones

From Election to Marching: Calling a Thing What It Is, or We Are Not the Crazy Ones January 26, 2017

“A theologian of glory calls evil good and good evil. A theologian of the cross calls the thing what it actually is.” ~ Martin Luther, 1518

Saturday marked the first day since November 9 that I didn’t feel crazy, or completely out of sync with reality, or that everything I thought was true was false. I hadsprringfield rally been doing that thing that I know I wasn’t supposed to do: retreat and disconnect. I also knew that I was able to do that because I’m an educated, white, employed, insured woman.

But up was down and inside was outside and the wrong candidate was declared leader of the free world and I didn’t see it coming. No one I took seriously did … that’s been one of the things the news programs I had previously devoured but have been studiously avoiding for the past two months have tried to dissect. I nurtured an irrational anger at all of the polls and pundits and experts and news commentators for getting it wrong and feeding me hope alongside ample doses of righteous anger. We knew we were right. He’s a danger to democracy and surely goodness prevails, even Republicans could see it, the arc of the moral universe … all of that stuff, right?


But this past Saturday, the sun shone brightly and I stood with friends and spouse and colleagues and neighbors and a thousand other people in the shadow of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, and rallied for justice. For preserving affordable healthcare, for protecting access to Planned Parenthood, for the environment, for black lives, for retired persons, for a living wage, and yes, against the positions and promises of the newly inaugurated president.

I later saw the pink-hatted millions around the world on television, and the veil of crazy started to lift. THIS was reality. I wasn’t so wrong after all. I could exhale.

There WERE more people in the streets protesting the current administration than were there to celebrate its inauguration.

Alternative facts ARE lies.Women's_March_(VOA)_03

Torture does NOT work.

Science IS real.

He IS a danger to democracy.

And though I had walked alongside students on my campus while they chanted “Love Trumps Hate” three days after the election, I’m still skeptical about that right one now. There’s an awful lot of hate doing too much winning right now.

Mistrust of the foreigner, racial profiling, disregard for the environment, dismissal of science, and gender discrimination are just a few themes of the actions taken and statements made in the first DAYS of this administration.

But the pink-hatted millions know otherwise. We aren’t crazy. We see reality and call things what they are.

In the early days of the sixteenth century, Martin Luther saw corruption in his church. He saw an ideology misleading the faithful and he worried for his own soul and the souls of his people. He wrote sermons and manifestos and theological treatises explaining the truth of grace as he understood it. He raged against the machine of institutional-church and transformed the world in the process.

In 1518, he wrote in “The Heidelberg Disputation” that unlike a theologian of glory, someone who wants salvation to be transactional and triumphal and obvious, “a theologian of the cross calls the thing what it actually is.” For Luther, the truth of God is found in unexpected places and grace comes in surprising ways, hidden such that some will fail to see. It’s not in the obvious place, not in the equation of merit where if you work hard and do good you earn salvation. It’s in the young unmarried woman, it’s on the instrument of torture and death, it’s in unmerited grace.

The spray-tanned man in his gilded-gold tower wants people to think he holds all the power, that he alone can fix it, that he is always right. He does have a terrifying amount of power, but he isn’t always right, he can’t fix it alone, and he doesn’t have all the power. The pink-hatted millions (and the scientists and park rangers and faith leaders and …) have spoken and will continue to do so.

We need to call things what they are now more than ever.

This is NOT normal.

For two months I’ve been asking myself “would a President McCain or Romney do this?” and the answer has repeatedly been NO. That’s what “not normal” means. And it’s not good.

There are more people who voted against this president than voted for him.

He can’t face reality, but that doesn’t make it untrue.

Thank goodness now we can see each other and know that WE aren’t the ones who are crazy.

Images mine and via wikimedia commons.


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