Rev. Dr. Damaris Whitaker
Special to CTLatinoNews.com
Editor’s note: Rev. Damaris Whitaker wrote this op-ed in response to a CTLatinoNews.com story that reported on how conservative Latino Republicans in Connecticut were grappling with a potential Trump candidacy and how they explained their potential vote.
I think it is safe to say that the people of the United States have been inflicted with great suffering this election season. There are words full of hate that we will never forget, there are actions we cannot un-see. Indeed, America’s footprints have been lost in the darkness ‘tus huellas se ha perdido entre la oscuridad’.
Most injurious, this season, have been the attempts of many to explain his [Trump’s] hateful acts. But, hate, my friends, cannot be explained. It is deeply rooted in implicit biases and it stretches its branches in the shadow of ignorance.
Many have alluded to the fact that under the First Amendment we enjoy freedom of speech and any candidate has the right to speak their mind. Well, freedom of speech has its limitations and hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment. Neither is the incitement of violence.
It is in this climate, that Christians around the country will be celebrating Holy Week. The Week begins with Palm Sunday. What is most important in the Palm Sunday story, when Jesus enters into Jerusalem, is that: Jesus’ procession was a counter-procession.
Still unknown to many today, there were two processions that same day–the empire’s procession and the peasant procession.
It was the beginning of Passover, the most sacred week in the Jewish year.
On the west side of the city, Pontius Pilate entered with pageantry and a great column of imperial solders. His objective was to affirm the Roman empire and to remind the people that the empire was still in charge.
On the east side, Jesus with very little preparation rode on donkey into the City and he was cheered by people from the peasant class. This procession was a political protest to the empire’s procession.
The people at the time lived under what is described as a “domination system” that was characterized by three major elements: a) political oppression, b) economic exploitation and c) religious legitimation.
These domination systems were a way of organizing a society in ancient and pre-modern times. Nonetheless, I would argue that the core elements of such domination systems remain to be alive and well throughout our society today.
Our current political system provides fertile ground for the few to rule the many. Our taxation laws and economic systems continue to create inequality. And, certainly, some have felt free to use God’s name to justify anti-immigration reform, to strip women of their reproductive rights, discriminate against the LGBTQ community and keep every American armed with assault weapons. The domination system is still alive and well in America.
Friends, I too find myself looking for America amid the suffering of the inflicting wounds this election season. But I chose to enter the City from the east, in protest. Raising my voice for immigrants and refugees; raising my voice for the LGBTQ community and their inherent rights; raising my voice for women and their reproductive rights; raising my voice for Black Lives Matter; raising my voice for Justice and Peace. I hope you join me.
Rev. Dr. Damaris Whitaker is the first Latina to serve as Senior Minister at the historical First Church of Christ in Hartford. This opinion article reflects her personal views.