Celebrating Democracy

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Donald John Trump, 45th President of the United States, delivering his Inaugural Address.

From a January 17 message from the Dean of Washington National Cathedral:

“I understand the strong disagreement many people have with the decisions to accept an invitation for the Cathedral choir to sing at the Inauguration and for the Cathedral to host the Inaugural Prayer Service. I am sorry those decisions have caused such turmoil and pain. Yet I stand by those decisions–not because we are celebrating the President-elect, but because we want to model for him, and the rest of the county, an approach to civility.

Understand that civility does not mean endorsing a president’s views, behavior or rhetoric, nor compromising our own Christian values. Our willingness to pray and sing with everyone today does not mean we won’t join with others in protest tomorrow. We will always strive to bridge the divide and repair the breaches in our life together. As a Cathedral, we have decided that we will approach that moment as open-handedly as possible.

In this and in all disagreements, we should never turn away from the opportunity to engage in any conversation. We can have no conversation, and this Cathedral can have no convening authority, if those with whom we disagree only see a turned back or are met with condescension or derision. God meets us where we are, and we must do the same for one another.

At the Inauguration on Friday, our choir will sing “God Bless America,” among other pieces, not as a political endorsement, but as an affirmation that we are still one nation under God. Why are we going? For the same reasons Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and others are going: To honor our nation, to support our democracy, to promote the peaceful transition of power, to celebrate our aspirations and to lift up the values that have blessed this nation.”

And:

“I believe our job is to work together to build a country where everyone feels welcome, everyone feels safe, everyone feels at home. We will need all people from across our nation to be a part of that process, and we cannot retreat into our separate quarters if we have any hope of accomplishing this task. We must meet in the middle, and we start through prayer and song.

It pains me that our decisions have caused such anguish. But, if these gestures serve as a catalyst for bridging the divide then, God willing, we are on the right path.”

–The Very Rev. Randolph “Randy” Marshall Hollerith

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The newly restored Capitol dome…

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…and the thousands who came to celebrate democracy.

16 thoughts on “Celebrating Democracy

  1. Kathie Fagan

    Thanks for this, Marian.

    I worry that so many are behaving so irrationally. And violently.

    It’s all a process, just like gardening.

    Kathie Fagan, GVL

    Reply
  2. Katie Robey

    Thank you for sharing this. I’m encouraged by the remarks, especially “Our willingness to pray and sing with everyone today does not mean we won’t join with others in protest tomorrow. We will always strive to bridge the divide and repair the breaches in our life together. As a Cathedral, we have decided that we will approach that moment as open-handedly as possible.”

    Reply
  3. Christina

    I can admire your sentiments while not agreeing with them. I don’t think the new president will hear any voice of reason however cordially delivered. I am completely depressed by the world situation and the prospects for the next generations are appalling. I will be thinking of you as you march today.

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Christina–Don’t mistake, I have my own harsh opinion, but also see opportunity…believing the most progress can be made at a turning point like the one at hand. Thanks for your well wishes for today. I am a bit on edge after yesterday’s violent protests.

      Reply
  4. Alison Piasecka

    Essentially I agree with the Cathedral. But, this election result and who has ended up in the White House is a disaster. What is needed now is constant vigilance to ensure that checks and balances do exist to protect and continue to support those who need help, and to ensure that the world is not destabilized by this. I realise that the UK has not set a glowing example either, and I am as hideously embarassed and shocked by the words coming from London as from Washington. We need to take responsibility and be careful, very careful.

    Happy New Year, Marian, all the same!

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Alison–Thanks for your comment. I share many of your concerns, but am hopeful that good will come out of current events. The debate is energizing women (here) in a way I haven’t seen in my lifetime.

      Reply
  5. Beth @ PlantPostings

    I have such mixed feelings lately, I don’t know where to start. But this country is great, people have a right to protest, the way forward is challenging, debate toward truth is critically important, we need to work together, and love trumps hate.

    Reply

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