Two weeks out from the election, it is painfully clear that we live in an age of acute anxiety.
A historically polarizing presidential campaign has revealed divisions so deep it is hard to see how we are truly one nation – let alone one “under God.”
In the last two weeks, swastikas and “whites only” graffiti have defaced churches, parks, and public schools across the country. Confederate flags are being unfurled and waved proudly to chants of “black lives don’t matter” and “make America white again.” Muslim women have been terrorized by white men who rip their hijabs off their heads in public and then threaten their lives if they put them on again. On Saturday, a group of white nationalists gathered in Washington and celebrated a national “awakening” to their worldview. Before that, the Ku Klux Klan declared victory.
Meanwhile, otherwise peaceful demonstrations against the results of the election have been marred by protestors who have expressed their anger by smashing windows, destroying property, and disrupting high school and college campuses.
But none of this means we have suddenly deteriorated into a state of incivility and blatant racism. What has largely been hidden has now been brought into the light. All the ugliness that is now out in the open has been seething just beneath the surface, only occasionally rearing its head high enough to cause shock and outrage, but never enough to be engaged effectively. There is hope, then, that what ills us can finally be treated in an honest way that leads to healing.