There is Hope Amid Tragedy
I feel like we’ve been saying this for the last 5 years, but alas, let me go ahead and say it again … It’s been a year!
Along with many of you, I watched the year kick off with the invasion of a sovereign country, forcing millions from their homes and into the arms of neighboring nations. While not unique from the wars and conflicts happening everywhere all the time, the barbarism and brutality that characterized the mainstream headlines in 2022 both minimized and maximized the seismic threats to freedom and democracy that daily raise my anxiety … the threats of inflation, abortion access, the right to vote, equitable education, and the ongoing threat of the COVID pandemic. Such issues that both get to the very fabric of democracy and at the same time seem like petty privileges of an America far removed from the sufferings of a hot war.
And at the same time, there is a war brewing among us that is much closer in nature to the war in Ukraine than is polite to acknowledge. Conservative governors and legislatures across the country kicked off the year by declaring war on queer and trans children. In May, a gunman brought war to an elementary school as the police stood by, ruining the lives of a community. In June, the Supreme Court launched a war against bodily autonomy that will force many to give birth against their will. In November, the massacre at Club Q in Colorado manifested the hateful rhetoric that characterized a political season that inflamed the cultural cold war against marginalized communities that connected all these tragedies.
Like I said, It’s been a year!
And also, there is reason for hope. What I’ve learned from following the war in Ukraine is that amid unspeakable trauma and tragedy, there is hope. Amid the ruins of a nation is a people unmoved by the brutality of tyranny and conquest. At the risk of sounding overly sentimental and simplistic about the trauma and grief that will outlast the war for generations to come, I deeply believe that hope has been the lethal weapon of war for a people whom many thought had no chance of victory.
Hope is what drove millions of Georgians to the polls during their December special election, preserving our fragile democracy for at least one more day. In the face of racialized voter suppression and generations of white-led statewide rule, Black Georgians elected their first Black senator to a full-term in Congress.
Hope was also the balm for an unwavering wife awaiting the release of her beloved from a Russian prison. It is no small thing that a Black queer woman found freedom due to the relentless pleadings of her wife who demanded the most from a system that, in political terms, cares little for Blackness or queerness. The news of Brittney Griner’s release allowed us all to breathe a collective sigh.
Even amid my own cynicism about our obsession with same-sex marriage, I found space for hope as I witnessed President Biden sign into law the Respect for Marriage Act. Seven years after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, a law defending marriage is cold comfort for a queer and trans community being denied housing, healthcare, and employment merely because of who we are, while also adding more harm to queer and trans people living with disabilities. But in this harsh and violent political climate, such a small step gives us reason to continue our fight for full dignity in hope that we will continue to bend the long arc of the moral universe towards justice for queer and trans bodies.
As this treacherous and tiresome year comes to a close, may these small victories bring you hope.
May you remember that you are not alone.
May you find comfort and joy in times of grief and sorrow.
May you find the strength to persevere this journey of justice, peace, and equity in this community of the faithful.
Amen. Ase. May it be so.