Sunday, November 13, 2016

Safety-Pin Love

Rant coming. I hope you understand that these mini-essays are mostly for me: MY attempts to cope with MY disarray in reaction to our election of the unconscionable Donald Trump. But I rather need to say it "out loud," too, publicly, just in order to feel less alone in my derangement.

So, some thoughts on the current vogue of safety-pin love (wearing a safety-pin on one's lapel to declare love for and solidarity with groups threatened by Trump's vile policies):

Love is the most uniquely human and therefore indispensable of our emotions. In that lovely chapter in 1 Corinthians, St. Paul reminds us of why it is so central--it bears all things, it endures all things, it makes it possible to carry on in the midst of all things. In that sense, indeed, love never fails. BUT by the same token, it is not love's role to FIX the things that are being borne or endured. St. Paul, when we read between the lines, was a pretty mean and belligerent SOB. Yes, I suppose he might have consented to wear the first-century equivalent of a safety pin, but I doubt that he would have considered this act more than a banal, albeit comforting, gesture in his bitter and, indeed, pretty unloving, battles with Roman magistrates, Jewish religious authorities, and especially other Christians with whom he disagreed and whom he denounced vehemently.

In short, those of us who wear a safety-pin need to be aware that this is not the end of our responsibility--and that our declaration of love may commit us to go beyond safe symbolism and act in decidedly unloving ways. Sometimes the safety pin must be open, the point exposed and, yes, even inserted somewhere--at least if we really intend to keep our friends safe, and if anything at all is to be "fixed."