A reflection on Memorial Day as a Day of Sacred Resistance from Susan Russell, our Senior Associate for Communication. “Resistance is the most tangible way we honor the sacrifice of those who have fallen defending the noble-if-still-aspirational ideal of liberty and justice for all.”
We’re getting ready for Memorial Day at our house. Like patriotic Americans all around the nation, we are looking forward to a weekend to mark the “official beginning of summer” as we give thanks for the freedoms we have because of those who were willing to sacrifice their lives defending the Constitution “against all enemies — foreign and domestic.”
The fixings for the barbecue are in the fridge. The flag is flying on the lawn. And the #Resist bumper sticker is on the car.
Tomorrow in church we will pray the prayer we pray every Memorial Day:
God of love and mercy, receive our thanks this day for the men and women who have given their lives in service to our country. Help us to honor them in our work for peace through justice, that people across the globe may live abundant lives freed from the threat of war and violence. In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen.
We honor them in our work for peace through justice. We honor them in the flags we fly and in the prayers we pray. And we honor them with the #Resist bumper stickers on our cars and hashtags in our tweets — outward and visible signs of our commitment to resist the forces working to dismantle the democracy they died to defend.
What are we resisting? Nobody explains it with more devastating clarity than author, theologian and thought leader Diana Butler Bass who writes:
“Politics seems confusing right now, but it really isn’t. There is one simple, constant truth at the center of it all:
The goal is to take everything away from our democratic inheritance — wealth, services, parks and museums, education, social care, clean air and water, checks and balances, a free media, voting rights and voice, our relationships with global democratic societies — to pay for massive tax cuts for the super wealthy and transfer even more resources to enrich the few and give them overt political control of the planet.
None of us, none of our lives, none of our loves or loved ones, none of our hopes or dreams matter in this quest.
That’s the whole story. Tell yourself this each day. And tell it to everyone you know in any way you can.”
Tell it by flying the flag on your lawn and by saying your prayers in church and by the #Resist bumper sticker on your car.
Tell it by marches in the streets and letters to Congress; by supporting a free media and by not confusing actual data with alternative facts; by standing with those on the margins and by speaking truth to those in power.
And on this Memorial Day, tell it by claiming resistance as the most tangible way we honor the sacrifice of those who have fallen defending the noble-if-still-aspirational ideal of liberty and justice for all. Tell it to everyone you know in any way you can.
Resist. Persist. Repeat.