“We have to grow up–past conspiracy theories, demagoguery, single-issue voting, partisan seductions, mudslinging, and God-and-country conflations and confusions.”
-David Gushee, Baptist minister and professor of Christian ethics at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.
Sometimes a single quote says it all: We have to grow up. We have to reject the conspiracy theories, demagoguery, single issue voting, partisan seductions, mudslinging, and God-and-country conflations and confusions that have characterized our political dialog for at least a generation now and at a magnified level for the past eight years. It is time for the adults to enter the room.
The quote referenced above was written in 2008, prophetically anticipating what the next eight years would bring and the political crisis that has now come to a head. And how prescient are those words–conspiracy theories about missing birth certificates, blatantly demagogic political “solutions” in the nation that gave the world democracy, a legislative body so engulfed in partisanship that its members would rather shut down the government than find common ground, mudslinging and name-calling that suggests a developmental blockage at the early middle school years, and the increasing identification of Christianity with a narrow nationalistic exceptionalism, a careless rebuke of the founder’s directive that we carefully separate the things that are Caesar’s and the things that are God’s.
It is indeed time to grow up. It is time to reject this madness as a frightening manifestation of America’s dark side, its shadow side. It is time to reconnect with America’s goodness, a fitting symbol of which is the Statue of Liberty with its call to embrace “your tired, your poor, your huddled mases yearning to breathe free,” words that have long served as a reminder of our openness, tolerance, acceptance, and civility. These are the true measures of our virtue; these are the values that make America great. It is time to step out of the dark and reenter the light.