(Editor’s note: The following is a commentary about the violent attack against the U.S. Capital on Jan. 6)
How do we navigate our lives amid these outrageous acts against our democracy? Do we remain silent? If not, then what?
Those who speak up for justice, and righteousness, are too often demonized as socialist misfits. They are viewed as troublemakers through a narrow lens of privilege, racism, hatred, and prejudice.
Yet, the fear invoked by the evil demonstration carried out by those who violently terrorized our nation’s capital — the most sacred institution of our government – is utterly appalling and despicable.
This radical movement perpetrated by White nationalists, racial hate groups, and others who blatantly over-asserted their privilege as a badge of honor, with only one intent, to overthrow our government. As a result, we are challenged as Americans to rethink and to wrestle with our understanding of what it means to live in America.
We are witnessing and experiencing a crossroads between partisan ideologies that are deeply embedded in the American culture. The evidence is more profound than anyone could have imagined.
The very thought of racial reconciliation, inclusion, and peaceful demonstration to many of us seems like only noise from brass and tinkling symbols. This makes no sense to a nation that is so divided. Yet, the hope that we have for change and a better future can only come when we commit to tearing down the walls and ideologies that shape our worldview.
There must be a willingness to confront the evil of our nation with intentional, meaningful dialogue. Every act we find that violates who we say we are as a nation must have an equal and opposite reaction that produces radical constructive change. Now is not the time to be absent from the conversation…tomorrow may be too late!
At this critical moment in our nation’s history, America needs not radical, destructive voices, but radical constructive voices. Voices who are willing to share in a vision of unity and reconciliation. Voices who are not afraid to speak truth to power. Voices like the great Nelson Mandela who clearly stated: “Reconciliation is a spiritual process, which requires more than just a legal framework. It has to happen in the hearts and minds of people.”
The Rev. Dr. Ralph Williamson is the senior pastor of Christ Our Redeemer AME Church in Irvine, CA.