“Darkness cannot drive out darkness only light can do that” is a quote that comes from the new testament of the Bible in I John’s first chapter. And as we close out this horrific year of 2020, we are indeed living through some dark times with more dark days ahead according to medical professionals and economic experts. All of this coming from the effects of a once in a generation global pandemic with thousands of Americans dying daily and over 18 million sickened by the virus.
Intersecting with and compounding the effects of this medical emergency reemerges America’s problematic racial history with all of its social and economic injustices exacerbated by the murders of Ahmuad Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and the murder in “real time”, on national television, of George Floyd. In fact, in 2020 there were 164 Black People killed by police in just the first 8 months of the year. America’s so-called “exceptionalism” was on display world-wide. And all of this was compounded by the most contentious political season in modern American history.
We just finished the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, an eight-day holiday called the Festival of Lights; in November, we celebrated Diwali, the Indian festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Janis, and Sikhs. Diwali symbolically celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and hope over despair. Christians are about to celebrate the holy holiday of the birth of Jesus Christ, who symbolizes the Light of the World. And in the African American community the celebration of Kwanzaa is observed for 7 days following Christmas. Kwanzaa is a cultural celebration that uplifts unity, creativity, faith, self-determination, and economic empowerment within the Black community and uses the lighting of candles to illuminate these principles each night of the Kwanzaa season.
Light dispersing the darkness of ignorance and despair in the human condition and illuminating hope, faith and good instead are the basic thematic principles that all of these holidays have in common. Even states and municipalities participate in ceremonies in their states and cities like the “Grand Illumination” that light up the city buildings and streets as a way to brighten the dark days of the winter season and lift the spirits of the communities they serve. In the light, we see more clearly than we do in the darkness. And it is generally acknowledged that truth is more accurately associated with light while falsehood and deception is associated with darkness.
It seems as though the last days of this current administration with a president living his final few weeks in the people’s house are qualitatively darker than any of the previous days we have experienced thus far. In denying the outcome of a free and fair election that did not choose him as the next leader of our country, this president is living in the darkness of falsehood and denial and refusing to come into the light of the truth that he actually lost the election he continues to claim he won. The truth is, without equivocation, that on January 20, 2021 he will be escorted from the White House whether or not he concedes to the President-elect. The truth is that although the nation is still in the grip of a global pandemic, we have hope in the emergency approval of 2 vaccines with a 95 % efficacy rate. There is light at the end of the long dark tunnel of 2020 even in the midst of uncompromising pain, grief and loss. And yet we must endure for the next few weeks and days, what can only be described as a type of “Mad King George” syndrome infecting the halls of government and at the very seat of power in the White House itself. All of these things have been being predicted by pundits, cultural critics, and social scientists alike, almost since the beginning of the Trump Administration in 2016. Most people poo pooed these claims and assertions as hyperbolic and fantastical and yet here we are.
The fairytale titled “The Emperor‘s New Clothes” by Hans Christian Andersen about a vain emperor who gets exposed as a fraud because in fact, he has no clothes on at all, has become ever more prescient in these last days of 2020. Former President Obama identifies the state of our culture as being in a type of “truth decay.” However, “truth be told”, we are in a season of LIGHT…and in the end, light will dispel the darkness every time.