I was born in this country and it’s the only home I’ve ever known. I love the United States, although I have never thought it was better than any other country—just different. Exactly one year ago I was in Chile, visiting my son who was studying abroad there. On my phone I have a 12-second video that I took one Sunday morning, riding on a local commuter train. Musicians are playing on the train car for donations–in this case a harp and guitar duet. Families are talking. It was striking to me how much safer and happier the trains felt in Chile compared to Chicago. On Chicago trains, everyone is wary and sad looking. And in the news this week is also news about Chile, suffering unrest and violence in the capital Santiago, where I visited last year.
Last week my cousin called me: she was born in Ecuador, and she asked me to pray for family members there because there is also political and social unrest, although it’s not reported much on our news.
This brings me back around to our constitutional crisis with the impeachment underway and some conservative activists threatening violence if the president is impeached. I love my country, and I want democracy and decency to prevail. I love Chile, where I spent a week and where my son spent six months living with an amazing host mom. I love Ecuador, where my aunt and cousin were born and where I have visited the rainforest, a natural wonder of the world. People from one place are not better or worse than people from another place. We all have the capacity for compassion, love and generosity—and we all have the capacity for greed and violence. May the senators in Washington choose love and compassion. May it be so for everyone.
God of this great and powerful nation, God of smaller nations around the world, God of ancient nations and nations yet to be and God of no nation or tribe whatsoever, hear my prayer. May the elected officials know humility; may they be called to greater honesty and accountability, and where they have been corrupted by power, may they be healed of that corruption. May the police and armies of this nation and of every nation know restraint, so that violence does not spread. May the voice of the common people be heard, and may people gather in common purpose, expressing themselves through protest and action, through speech and voting.
May we all know that we are human first before we are American, Chilean, or Ecuadorian; and may we be united in striving for compassion and fairness in every nation.
May it be so.
Yours in faith and service,
Andrew (Drew) Frantz