inauguration day

Uncategorized Jan 20, 2021

Inauguration day arrives, and I am the most politically hopeful that I have been in fifty years. I know that sounds odd, even crazy, given all that is happening, so I’ll explain:

I was raised by dyed-in-the-wool, rock-ribbed Republicans, a whole slew of them: aunts, uncles, grandparents.  My dad believed that the worst thing that had happened to this country was FDR, and, God forgive him, he even said of JFK, “Someone should have shot him a lot sooner.” I once asked him if he would vote for notorious neo-Nazi candidate David Duke if he was running in his district, and he replied, “If he was running as a Republican, I would.”  My mother, also a deeply committed Republican, claimed that she had only voted for a Democrat once, in a local election, someone she knew personally, and she had been sorry ever since.  In 1964 my parents breathed, slept, ate and literally drank Goldwater. (Yes, there was a gold-colored soft drink made as an advertising device by RC Cola, and we had several cans in our basement).

It is therefore not that surprising that in high school I became the president of my local chapter of the Teen Age Republicans.  In 1968 I campaigned hard for a candidate for Indiana Senator named William Ruckelshaus. When he lost, I was crushed.  I believed him to be a man of integrity.  That belief was proven when as Deputy Attorney General he resigned along with his boss Elliot Richardson because President Nixon demanded that they fire the independent special prosecutor investigating Nixon’s role in the Watergate scandal.   My support of Ruckelshaus was the last time I gave my heart to a politician.  I stayed a registered Republican, but there was no passion.

In the 70’s I married and became a Christian.  For a long time, my faith was formed by the notion that only personal piety and a changed heart would solve the problems of the world.  Government couldn’t affect things all that much, and too much bureaucracy was required to administer a one-size-fits-all approach to enacting federal laws. However, I recognized that there were big injustices and inequities antithetical to the gospel Jesus taught about our responsibility for the poor, that required national legislation.  Dave and I coined the term “Radical Middle” to describe our political point of view.

All that changed in 2016. I felt like I was watching an election of extremes, and that there was nowhere for a person in the Radical Middle to stand without getting her arms torn off in the tug-of-war of American politics.  I’d been taught to fear a “Socialist Agenda”, but was even more alarmed by the nativism and demonization espoused by the candidate who eventually won.  

Then in 2020 Joe Biden was nominated.  Finally, someone who wanted to govern with bipartisan moderation.  Someone of integrity, like Ruckelshaus.  I don’t by any means think that President Biden is our savior.  Only Christ can save us from ourselves.  But at least he has concrete plans for governing instead of proclamations.  Because if the president who is leaving office has shown us anything, it is that just saying it doesn’t make it happen, whether it’s building a border wall, defeating a pandemic or winning an election….saying it doesn’t even make it true.

I am willing to give President Biden a chance.  I’m praying that he can pull it off.  Because as historian Doris Kearns Goodwin says, “People like impossible things made possible.”  I’m praying most fervently that, in God’s great mercy, our sad divisions may cease. 

Is that what you want? For our sad divisions to cease? For us to find solutions to the enormous problems, even if the plan comes from someone with a different ideology than yours?  Or is it more important to you to see the other side fail?  Writer Leslie Leyland Fields has written a wonderful piece entitled “Making Christians Great Again”.  To read it go to:


These days the issue that challenges and animates me is the Bible’s concern for those who are disenfranchised because of race or nationality or immigration status.  Read how desperately God loves the poor and the alien:

“May God judge the poor with justice….May he defend the cause of the poor, give deliverance to the children of the needy and crush the oppressor… He delivers the needy…the poor and him who has no helper.  He has pity on the weak and needy, and saves the lives of the needy.  From oppression and violence he redeems their life and precious is their blood in his sight.” 
                                             Psalm 72:2, 4, 12-14 

“He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes.”                             Psalm 113:7-8 

“Blessed is the one…who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry….the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down…he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to an end.”             Psalm 146

“You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt."             Exodus 22:21

“You shall have the same rule for the sojourner and for the native, for I am the Lord your God.”               Leviticus 24:22

“He has filled the hungrywith good things,and the rich he has sent away empty.” Luke 1:53

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.”                     Luke 4:18

“But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.”  Luke 14:13

“If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?”                        James 2:15-16

“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”
                                              2 Corinthians 9:9

“Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required.”     Luke 12:48 

“Jesus didn't die for a nation. He died for people. We fight for the souls of people. Our power is Jesus. And We fight by waging peace and our weapon is love.”  Leslie Leyland Fields

“Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is a future for the man of peace.”
                                               Psalm 37:37

Love, Liz                                

Photo of my mom and me at her 80thbirthday celebration