To my friends around the world:
No, we are not going to drown, despite the rising waters of bigotry and greed.
Yes, evidence continues to mount that we have made a terrible mistake. Somehow, this country elected a man so unfit to be president that he would never have passed muster for even the lowest level position as a diplomat, so lacking in self-discipline that he can’t make it through a day without insulting others, and so blind to his own ignorance that he can’t comprehend how much he doesn’t know.
Somehow, enough people in this country — not a majority by a long shot, but enough — were misguided enough to think Donald Trump could lead this nation. His strongest supporters include people who share his racist agenda to oppress or turn away all but the whitest and brightest on the one hand, and elites who may not like his unbounded narcissism but know that he and his Republican cronies will set the table to multiply their already obscene riches. One of the more inexplicable oddities is that many of the fans who share his racist and anti-immigrant mentality will suffer financially from his empty promises as more and more wealth percolates to the top. But, the famous “base” did not elect Donald Trump alone. There were others who never liked him, but could not bring themselves to vote for a woman who had been mercilessly demonized by alt-right media and targeted by the Russians, who knew the best way to destabilize and weaken America was to help the worst possible candidate get elected. Enough people fell for the propaganda to give Russia and the racists a victory.
Yes, we let it happen. Too many people who knew better just couldn’t get themselves motivated enough to stop the train wreck from happening. Yes, any semblance of balance in our current political system has gone off the rails, and there are days when it seems hopeless.
But no, it is not. To my friends in the beautiful countries of Africa and the Caribbean and other places around this startled globe that once looked to our country for leadership, we are capable of learning from our mistakes.
Yes, we are as embarrassed as a boy whose pants fell down with every taunting playground tweet and foul-mouthed insult that comes from the White House, but this is not our future. If the current president is not impeached for outright incompetence and for endangering the country, he will be soundly defeated in the next election.
Make no mistake about that. Mid-term elections will offer an opportunity to raise up more elected officials who will push back against his would-be totalitarianism, and in 2020 this country will send him back to the posh apartments he claims to prefer to the nation’s distinguished house.
We have survived one year of the nation’s Great Embarrassment, and with God’s help, we will survive the next three, if necessary. I don’t think I could ever be thankful for Donald Trump’s presidency, but as the ugliness he has uncorked reveals so plainly the dark underbelly of evil that lives in racism, elitism, and narcissism, perhaps we may at least find the determination to strive at what Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others have encouraged us to be: people who truly believe in freedom and justice — equality and compassion — for all.
We will not despair: we will vote.
Professor of Old Testament at Campbell University Divinity School in Buies Creek, North Carolina, and the Contributing Editor and Curriculum Writer at Good Faith Media.