Easter will soon be upon us on Sunday, April 12 and already we’re seeing how even a holy day and religious observance can be manipulated by America’s political hierarchy.
In recently televised remarks, President Donald Trump has vowed to reopen the U.S. economy by Easter Sunday, even as the number of deaths from the coronavirus continue to escalate and despite recommendations from the scientific and medical communities to maintain self-isolation.
Trump maintains that the “cure” for the pandemic could be “worse than the problem itself,” suggesting that if the economy is not allowed to gear back up soon and if current restrictions are not lifted, that we’ll see “thousands of suicides.”
Is he serious in considering whether it’s prudent to lift social distancing measures at the end of a 15-day period because of his belief that we’re on the precipice of “winning the fight against the invisible enemy”? Or, is our commander in chief, once again, pandering to his base and to others who have more faith in empty promises and wishful thinking than the evidence and recommendations proposed by the real experts?
If, as Trump said during his afternoon press conference Tuesday, the first priority is always the health and safety of the American people, then there’s no question that we will see the continued practice of social distancing with only the most essential businesses and services keeping their doors open. Still, that flies in the face of what the president concludes and predicts will occur – and by Easter, no less.
Meanwhile, local leaders in the District, Maryland and Virginia have collectively moved in an opposite direction – closing schools for the remainder of the year, continuing to direct residents to stay home except for the most extreme situations and limiting travel throughout the DMV – even closing thoroughfares and places where folks have chosen to congregate despite urgings from city officials, like the Tidal Basin as the cherry blossoms bloom in annual, spectacular fashion.
Those who understand the significance of Good Friday, Easter and the relevance of the Holy Season, are presumably individuals whose faith rests not in the words of short-lived elected officials but in a persona, an eternal Spirit and a power that has been among and with humanity since the beginning of time.
We, the faithful, similarly understand that Easter Sunday and all that it encompasses is much more than one day on the calendar. In truth, it is a way of life – a belief that in God’s time the impossible becomes possible.
Further, for those who truly adhere to such a faith, we know that America – contrary to the words espoused by Donald Trump – does not exist in isolation. The truth is that the world and its inhabitants remain linked as one community where human-formed borders and notions of nationalism do not begin to represent the actual fullness of or relationships between the millions of residents on Earth.
Will there be “tremendous anxiety and depression,” and will we see a spike in “suicides over things like this when you have terrible economies” as the president predicts? Perhaps we will.
But those who yield to depression, anxiety and suicide are among those who have placed their faith in the temporal – that is that which presents itself in the secular, the worldly – situations that are limited by time.
As for me and my house, we will continue to hold fast to that faith which surpasses all understanding – a belief that time continues along a path that is only occasionally chronological – “chronos” as the Greek New Testament sometimes suggests. My house also understands that time can take rapid and unexplainable leaps forward – a sudden breakthrough to a new reality – “kairos” to which the Greek New Testament also refers.
Still, Trump does allow for the possibility that the coronavirus may reshape American life forever – a notion with which I, too, agree. But I hope and pray that the change will be positive in nature, opening our minds, hearts and souls so we can understand that which has always been the eternal truth.
Said simply, and as Maya Angelou prophetically stated in one of my favorite poems, “Human Family,” “we are more alike than unalike.”
Yes, “we are more alike than unalike. We are more alike than unalike.”