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Sins of Omission, Or, 1,553 Days Later.
Looking back on Inauguration Eve
It’s been 1,553 days since Donald Trump was projected to be the winner of the 2016 election. Today he gave his final televised speech as President. I didn’t watch it in its entirety—-the man’s voice and the man’s tweets have taken up too much of my brain space over the past four years. But I did read the summary that surfaced in my timeline, and and was struck by what he didn’t say:
”Trump did not mention President-elect Joe Biden by name during the video that ran nearly 20 minutes, but he wished good luck to the new administration in general. "We extend our best wishes," Trump said, "and we also want them to have luck, a very important word."
“The president noted the development of COVID-19 vaccines but not the problems with delivering the medicine. Trump did not mention that more than 400,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the USA within the past year.”
These are sins of omission.
In a fraught election season—immediately preceded by an impeachment trial about Trump soliciting a foreign power to investigate the political opponent that he would then face and lose to in the election season—that took place in the midst of an unmitigated pandemic that he downplayed—and an election which he still refuses to recognize the legitimacy of-and an insurrection that he encouraged—
these are sins of omission.
This is not emphasizing successes over failures. Even in this, his final moments as President, Trump still utterly refuses to acknowledge any reality that displeases him. His failures simply do not exist to him, and even if they did, they would be illegitimate.
Yet this reality, unpleasant as it is to Trump, does indeed exist. And he is finally running out of yes-men.
Earlier today I shared on Twitter how I had mixed emotions about the end of this administration:
I feel profoundly different than I did four years ago. So much has changed, and not all for the better. There has been so much grief and anger in this time. And some of those griefs have not run their course; some have not been fully mourned. (Grief never really ends so much as it subsides, existing within and beside you.)
In a way, I still mourn that 81% of the faith tradition that formed me voted for Trump—not once, but twice. I mourn that Tony Perkins and his ilk gave Trump so many goddam mulligans. I mourn that so many in the pulpits and the pews were such loyal foot soldiers for Trump and his white Christian nationalist agenda.
I mourn the countless stories of people hurt, traumatized, or abused in churches, either shared with me online or in a podcast interview, since 2016.
I mourn that the 78% of Republican voters polled still believe the election was stolen.
I mourn that many white evangelical leaders are such deft deflectors that they refuse to acknowledge their role in enabling the sort of violence on display in the Capitol Siege, for even a moment.
I mourn that in doing so, white evangelicalism follows Trump’s example of refusing to see a displeasing reality.
I mourn that that’s probably what drew them to each other in the first place—this denial of displeasure, this acceptance of a false reality and alternative facts.
I mourn so much.
And yet I have faith enough for today, and hope enough for tomorrow. I acknowledge what I’ve lost and am thankful for what I’ve gained. And that is enough.
1,553 Days Later, that is enough.