Oh, I try.
There are a lot of things that make me mad. Stubbing my toe, walking through a spider web, doing all the dishes and then remembering that one fork in the basement under the couch cushion from three weeks ago. Also, and this is a new one, candles that have only a half inch of good-smelling wax and then the rest of it is fake. (Please call your local legislator about this serious issue, because, really? Does society not have enough problems?)
But the one thing that makes me more mad than anything else in the world and has a 100% guarantee to get me fired up is injustice.
A lot of times, I take it as a personal affront. Several examples:
When Brock Turner was released from jail.
When I heard Donald Trump speak so eloquently about the treatment of women.
When I see the consequences of war.
When children suffer because of adults’ bad decisions.
A flame is lit inside me when I watch these videos and read these articles. It grows as the stories unfold and more gruesome details come to light.
My anger makes me want to become a lawyer. It makes me want to become an activist, a paramedic, a social worker, a foster parent, a peacekeeper. I want to be so many things to solve so many problems. I have to be careful with my emotions, because sometimes righteous anger flares quickly to hate.
Righteous anger is
I’ve found that the only way I keep from sliding from righteous anger to hate is by keeping Jesus in the mix. It’s so hard to pray for people to find peace, healing, and help, when all I want them to find is my fist in their face. (See? I need Jesus). Hate tells us, “Do whatever you think you need to do to make the situation right again!” Righteous anger reminds us, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
“If He knows, He cares. And He knows,” my pastor said today.
Growing up we are told we can change the world. In our youth we picture ourselves being crowned king or queen, slaying dragons, and everyone being friends. Now that I’m older, I know changing the world is not all that often fun, romantic, or even successful. We change the world in things like voting. Our vote changes the person in the Oval Office, which changes our laws, which changes the U.S., which changes our relations with other countries, which changes the world. Voting is one way our beliefs and values–what we as a society believe is important in the year 2016–will be written down in history books for ages to come.
And so I’ve struggled with this election. Without laying out individual disagreements I have with each candidate–only to have friends explain them away 🙂 –I will say that I find neither candidate worthy of being the leader of the free world. Where Donald Trump is arrogant, Hillary Clinton is underhanded. Where Hillary Clinton is a criminal, Donald Trump is an imbecile. Where Donald Trump is racist, Hillary Clinton is manipulative.
I come again and again to a fork in the road:
If I vote for either, I will never forgive myself for having a hand in placing them in a position of power.
If I do not vote, I am disgracing the memory of generation after generation of women who fought to turn voting into a right–less than 100 years ago!
This weekend, I heard what Donald Trump said in a 2005 conversation with Billy Bush.
“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful. I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
Later, he says: “Grab them by the p—y,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”
I can’t listen to these words and not think of the women assaulted every minute in the United States. This is rape culture language. Not waiting to kiss a woman? What is he not waiting for? Permission? That’s sexual assault. It’s not immaturity. It’s not bro talk. And it most definitely is not excusable. When people get away with things they should be punished for, I fume. How has this man continued with horrible disrespect toward countless demographics, on the record, for decades, and will still be standing on a debate stage tonight? It is Donald Trump’s fault he is misogynistic. It is our fault we award him for it.
Growing up, being old enough to vote seemed like it would never happen. I remember reading in class in 5th grade about Hillary Clinton and how she was running for president. I was so proud of her and wanted to know all about her. I knew I couldn’t vote, but I was still allowed my opinion. Now I truly don’t know if I will vote at all. It is Johnson or nothing. There are several policies of his I don’t agree with, but isn’t that almost a “win” in this election if you have nothing else bad to say about a candidate?
Everyday I’m trying to keep this righteous anger from turning to hate, but let it propel me into good deeds, fruitful conversation, and actual change. I ask you to do the same.
Before you go:
What has given you righteous anger recently?