Dreaming of November 9
By Paul Brandeis Raushenbush
I’m dreaming of November 9th, when our national fever has broken and the night sweats are washed away, and while still weak, we open ourselves up to a shared journey of recouping our strength and restoring our fragile constitution.
I’m dreaming of November 9th, and the days after November 9th, when the bitter edge of a combat is dulled, and our spirits less brittle and hostile and stunted we allow our vulnerabilities to be a open path rather than a attack strategy. I’m dreaming of November 9th and the weeks after November 9th, when each must pick up the needle and thread of constructive citizenship and begin to mend the national fabric shredded through willful destructive language and ripped by piercing intentional acts of unkindness.
I’m dreaming of November 9th and the months after November 9th, when we clear out electoral delineations and imposed voters block of you versus me, we versus those. I’m dreaming of national reconciliation, recognition of pain unheard, alienation unalleviated, justice unknown. I’m dreaming of November 9th , and the years after November 9th , of peaceful tables laden with compassionate policies, impactful politics, reparations of wrongs, and restoration of the breach and repairers of the streets upon which we can live together.
I have nightmares of November 9th too — full of violence, rupture, barred teeth, hateful hearts, with guns out and bombs laid waiting. My nightmares of November 9th and the days after November 9th, are filled with fractured trust, fingers pointed with declarations of destruction, trenches dug for prolonged warfare.
I have nightmares of November 9th, and the months after November 9th, when blame is placed, and communities targeted, and the worst of our nation’s sinful past comes blazing back like a white knuckling addict who demands one more taste. I have nightmares of November 9th, and the years after November 9th, where generations of disaffected, disintegrate the bonds that tie; distributing despair on fertile, volatile minds with itchy, dangerous hands.
I’m dreaming of November 9th that I know will also be a nightmare; while praying that it is a nightmare that we can collectively wake up from and shake off, proclaiming it a “bad dream” that inspires us even more to commit ourselves to the dream; to a nation that will continue to strive to be better and to embody the vision of a beloved community.
Hold on tight until November 8th. On November 9th, together we will, must, begin dreaming.
Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush is Senior Vice-President at Auburn Seminary and Editor of Voices.