I'm not much of a believer. Culturally, my background is Christian - specifically small town Midwestern protestant Christian, but these days I mostly line up on the same side as Tim Minchin with respect to religious traditions. I share his love of Christmas as described in his song White Wine in the Sun.
But despite the fact that they are packed in layers of silliness, there are some ideas in the Christian tradition that are good ones, and this song by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra captures one of those good ideas almost perfectly. Specifically, this verse:
In another time
And another place
Where no man
Has to wear a sign
Saying where he's from
Saying what's his race
And he wants us to believe
This world that he sees
I fear that we may be entering an era in which this idea will be a forlorn hope. The United States has failed to rise to its ideals in the past, with the institution of slavery, followed by legalized segregation, the internment of Japanese-American citizens during world War II, racist immigration policies, and many other national moral failures. Over the last couple of decades, the U.S. seemed to be improving in this regard, and was slowly moving towards actually being a society that kept the promises that its founding documents made. And the majority of voters in the country seem to have wanted the country to keep moving in that direction.
But due to a fluke in the way that Presidents are selected, the incoming administration is headed by a man who campaigned on the idea of labeling people based upon where they come from, what religion they adhere to, and in a de facto manner, what their race is. I fear that we will see the implementation of a registry of Muslims in the country, whether they are citizens or not. I fear that we will see mass deportations of Hispanic immigrants, regardless of their legal status. Both of these policies will be motivated by xenophobic racism. I can already hear the reply - that neither Muslim nor Hispanic is technically a race, but both of those groups are dominated by people who are browner than the white Americans calling for these policies. The telling fact that reveals the racism behind such proffered policies is that those same people who clamor for the removal and exclusion of members of these groups are not making similar calls for people from Poland, or Hungary, and any number of other places. No, the only groups that they call for the government to move against are groups that are overwhelmingly non-white.
The truly sad thing is that many of the people who support these policies appear to be "conservative Christians". But as this song indicates, these proposed policies are entirely antithetical to the core of Christianity. In a larger sense, almost everything this incoming administration stands for is antithetical to the message and teachings of Christianity. If this administration tries to actually implement the promises they made on the campaign trail, then we are in for some very dark times ahead. I hope that the country can pull out of what I believe is the coming tail spin, but it will take a lot of work and effort to do it. I believe that the ideals that the United States was founded upon are the greatest one could choose, and I really hope that we pull back from this cliff that Trump's racism and xenophobia have pushed us towards, and we go back towards living up to those ideals.
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