Weeks ago I wrote an article on how we move forward from here. It came from thoughts I gathered after a visit home to my small town. One of the things I saw while driving around in my small rural Texas town that stood out to me is how it seemed as if the Trump flag had taken a higher place than the American flag.
That was a red flag to me.
I grew up being told no flag flies higher than the American flag. Now, as a Catholic, I would fly a Vatican flag higher because in my own life, being Catholic trumps being American. I’ve had some fellow Catholics tell me that is unpatriotic. It is a conversation that I have had with myself for a while. What do flags mean and what are they a symbol of?
During the insurrection at the United States Capitol, there were lots of flags on display. We’ve all seen the image of the guy walking through the Capitol building with the Confederate flag. There was video of people on a scaffold outside the Senate, which some commentators read as an attempt to take down an American flag and replace it with a Trump flag. Reporter Igor Bobic posted the video to Twitter, saying they were banging on the windows — and you can see people using the butt of a flagstaff to do just that.
Several people got on to a scaffolding outside Senate, took it to second floor, which looked like the area where McConnell’s office is located, and started banging on windows pic.twitter.com/IIZ21nkzFT
Whatever “that” was, there was plenty of unmistakable ugliness that day. I’ve since seen even sadder images. It was all brutal to watch. So now the question of how we move forward from here has taken a huge pivot for me.
I will admit that I do not know the answer to it — I do not know how to move forward.
I do not believe dialogue works in this situation, where you have a huge group of people who have fallen for lies and conspiracy theories. I do not know how to listen to people carrying the Confederate flag through the Capitol while shouting about their lost freedom. (What freedom have they lost? To deny people of color the power to have a voice in how this country is run?)
Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth and the life.” He is the way. He always has been. He is the truth. He always has been. He is life. He always has been. I will stick with Jesus.
Jesus can break through the deafness of ears that have been manipulated by lies. Even if they are lies that I have fallen for. I trust and believe and ask Jesus to show me the truth that He is.
Jesus knew that not everyone would hear the truth. He often said, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear,” which sounds to me like He knew there would be people without ears to hear. He let people walk away when He talked about eating His body as the way to salvation. He lets people walk away all the time. I know. He has let me walk away plenty of times.
Staying or walking away, hearing or not, these are the choices Jesus allows us to make for ourselves. He allows us to make our choices and holds us accountable for those choices. It is both.
Part of moving forward from here is accountability, and part is letting people to walk away as we pray for them to find their ears and come back.
Leticia Ochoa Adams writes from Texas, on life, death, grief, suicide, faith, motherhood, doubts and whatever (else) happens to be on her mind.