I’ve known for a while now that I was wrong. I needed to apologize, so I began working on this post; but there were too many things to say and so many of them weren’t enough. It’s been a journey of unfolding revelations and deepening understanding over the past few years. The time has now come to confess; as too much and not enough as this is, it needs to be said.
I know firsthand how difficult it is to change an idea or a habit when you sincerely want to change for yourself; but, it is nigh impossible to change simply because someone else wants you to see their recently enlightened truth… especially if you now see them as a traitor. Yet, I know that if I had any negative effect on anyone in my misguided ignorance, it may be possible to have some effect in my humility and repentance. Even if I cannot change a single mind, I am still bound by my own integrity to say a few things.
I hate the thought that I only listened to fear mongers to make decisions and nurture my worldview. I despise that I helped perpetuate that fear under the guise of “wisdom” and “enlightenment” and “righteousness”, because now I see how much damage it did to me and others. I was wrong. I am sorry.
I regret that I looked to the “religious right” as the sole voice for Christian discernment instead of praying and discerning for myself the meaning and true impact of the issues that they insisted God was on their side of. Their claims were often a convenient bid for power and without merit. I believed them blindly. I was wrong. I am sorry.
I didn’t hate President Obama because of his skin colour. I hated him because people who hated his skin colour (among other things) vilified him and his policies with statements that sounded a lot like logic and righteous principles. I was wrong. I am sorry.
I never gave Obama a chance. Now, after the sunset of his double term has faded into a dark night, I wish I could have the past eight years back to really appreciate what he was trying to do and how much of it he managed to accomplish for America. I was wrong. I am sorry.
I wish I could take back most of the conversations against him and the social media shares that perpetuated them. I was wrong. I am sorry.
I wish I could have better understood humanity, equality, and civil rights the way I do now. I say that knowing full well I have so much more to learn. I was wrong. I am sorry.
I wish I’d known that access to abortions actually LOWERS the number of them that occur because it also promotes the education and means to avoid unwanted pregnancies in the first place. I was wrong. I am sorry.
I regret believing that Christians are being threatened and persecuted in this country. Our Christian rights were not being threatened. We were the ones so often discriminating against those of other beliefs, trying to force the government to align them with ours. I was wrong. I am sorry.
I wish I’d known that refugees from other countries were facing a hell I am privileged to not have known. I wish I’d known they were not terrorist trojan horses trying to hurt us, but real people in dire need. I was wrong. I am sorry.
I wish I’d known that radical terrorists under the name of various faith traditions were not the poster children of those faith traditions. I wish I’d known more than the caricatures of those beliefs and cultures that the right wing media propagated. I wish I had found earlier opportunities to put faces and stories to those brave, beautiful people and see them with the kindness and compassion that my faith calls me to. I was wrong. I am sorry.
This isn’t me jumping on the bandwagon of fairweather fandom in a wistfully nostalgic look back. This has nothing to do with the person whose term is now dawning. This took years of deep, personal reflection and dissection of all that I have believed and why. These changes are by no means limited to politics, but for the sake of this post, that was my focus here.
As I have sifted through the detritus of years of my own beliefs; I have found in the process so much of it was built on lies, fear, hate, and anger. Those are not qualities I want represented in my life. Those are not qualities I want to promote in those around me. I want to show the compassion, love, and understanding that Jesus did. I want to wash my hands of controlling every aspect of the amazingly capable human beings around me. I want to never again take part, even unknowingly, in the dehumanization or discrimination of another person because of any difference, perceived or otherwise.
I also want to be a person of growth. I want others to have grace when they look at me, my flaws, and my incompleteness. I want to have that same grace for all of those around me. I believe grace starts with honesty and honesty starts with admitting when we are wrong and saying we are sorry. I believe it also involves standing up and speaking out against those who are behaving unjustly or in a tyrannical or bigoted manner towards others. I thought I was doing that before, but I had no idea that tyranny and bigotry were not merely attributes of whoever was on the other side of the partisan discussion.
I have found something else buried in the rubble. I have found great respect and admiration for President Obama. I do not agree with all of his policies. I do not think he was perfect. But, I do know that he was never even a shadow of the villain that I had once believed him to be. He is a man of great class, kindness, and deep love for humanity; so much so, that I know, were he ever to read this, he would forgive me for being wrong.
– same house, different perspective…