The Dream and the Nightmare of Our Political Future

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 - 5:30 am

The Dream and the Nightmare of Our Political Future

I’m dreaming of November 9, 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 9, and the days after November 9, when the bitter edge of a combat is dulled, and, our spirits less brittle and hostile and stunted, we allow our vulnerabilities to be an open path rather than an attack strategy.

I’m dreaming of November 9, and the weeks after November 9, 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 9, and the months after November 9, 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 9, and the years after November 9, of peaceful tables laden with compassionate policies, impactful politics, reparations of wrongs, and restoration of the breach and repair of the streets upon which we can live together.

I have nightmares of November 9, too — full of violence, rupture, barred teeth, hateful hearts, with guns out and bombs laid waiting. My nightmares of November 9, and the days after November 9, are filled with fractured trust, fingers pointed with declarations of destruction, trenches dug for prolonged warfare.

I have nightmares of November 9, and the months after November 9, 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 9, and the years after November 9, where generations of disaffected disintegrate the bonds that tie, distributing despair on fertile, volatile minds with itchy, dangerous hands.

I’m dreaming of a November 9 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 8. On November 9, together we will, must, begin dreaming.

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Contributor

is a writer, editor, and religious activist. He currently serves as Senior Vice-President for Public Engagement at Auburn Seminary and was the Executive Editor Of Global Spirituality and Religion for Huffington Post’s Religion section, and formerly served as editor of BeliefNet. Raushenbush served as Associate Dean of Religious Life and the Chapel at Princeton University and is an ordained Baptist minister in the American Baptist tradition. He is a graduate of Macalester College and Union Theological Seminary. He currently lives in New York and is married to the author Brad Gooch.

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