For the wicked are found among my people. They lie in wait like hunters; destroyers, they catch humans. They know no limits in deeds of wickedness; they do not judge with justice the cause of the orphan, to make it prosper, and they do not defend the rights of the needy. – Jeremiah 5:26, 28b-29 (NRSV)
A year from today will be the day after Election Day. God willing, we will know decisively who our President-elect is.
If it is Donald Trump, or anyone fashioned in his image, God help us all. Stochastic terrorism and nascent fascism will have an opportunity to cement their power in our political and military structures. To execute or imprison political opponents. To silence the press. To incite more hate and legislate against marginalized groups.
If the victor is someone more moderate, there will be the inevitable calls to move on from this polarizing political decade. To forgive and forget happenings like:
- children separated from their migrant parents at the border, then lost
- women and queer people denied bodily autonomy and safety
- people of color robbed of their civil rights and voting power
- low-income people driven into greater poverty
- a world order imperiled by braggadocious lips and monetized state secrets
- violence incited against everyone deemed “the enemy”
- a climate crisis not only denied but supercharged by greed.
The Hebrew prophets, like Jeremiah, had a long memory. Their job was not to forget, but to remember, and make sure the people did as well. A people who vividly remember the transgressions of those who lead them can take action to hold them accountable for their sins and prevent future harm. Silence is permissiveness toward future evil, and some forgiveness comes too cheaply.
God, give us a long memory, and the will to hold evildoers accountable for their actions, that we might deter future wickedness against your people and the earth.