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​Post-election thoughts at Thanksgiving
By Sen. Harold M. Metts

A Sunday hymn before Thanksgiving reminded me that “every day is a day of thanksgiving; God’s been so good to me; Every day, he’s blessing me.”

It is with this thought that I will continue to ponder the presidential election and rise above the fray, being fully aware that a house (or nation) divided cannot stand.

A recent mayor’s event, an intern from a Boston television station asked me for a response about the election. My response was shaped by my background of being an African-American, an American citizen, a deacon and an elected official.

Processing the cares, concerns and fears of many here in Rhode Island and across the country, I couldn’t help but reflect and paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. about never letting a man pull you so low you hate him.

I can remember what Dr. King said about the arc of the universe being bent toward justice. I’ll treasure and remember the civil rights tour I went on this spring with the Rhode Island State Council of Churches. We were in the very kitchen where Dr. King prayed about his fears during the Montgomery bus boycott (the front of his home having been bombed earlier that week by the KKK, with his wife and infant children in it.) He had an epiphany and heard a voice say, “Martin Luther, stand up for justice. Martin Luther, stand up for truth. Martin Luther, stand up for righteousness.” He received strength that came from on high, continued his prophetic journey, and the rest is history we can be proud of.

I reflected on the contributions of countless other Africans and African-Americans since the birth of this nation. Sadly, I also reflected on the disparities that continue.

I reflected on the Urban View radio station I listen to with Joe Madison (Black Eagle) and the Rev. Al Sharpton and others who speak of not allowing despair to destroy or paralyze you; silence being consent; and most importantly, that “the difference between a movement and a moment is sacrifice.”

Even in times of disappointment, can we as a nation rise above the fray and respect the democratic process? I remembered quotes from two local media articles from the past:

 ·         “In the heat of political conflict, passions often become inflamed. If they are not managed with care, they can block the road back to common ground, compromise and resolution.”  (It is time to let Beacon take care of its business, Providence Business News, Feb. 13-19, 2016)

 ·        ​Concerning our propensity for polarization, and talking about our obligations as Americans: “They demand a willingness to exercise the values of representative democracy: tolerance, mutual respect, accepting ideological differences, working together to build consensus.” (Doomed to polarization, Providence Journal editorial, July 15, 2014)

My spiritual side weighed in, and I remembered a question raised by a pastor in Georgia who asked his multicultural congregation, “Isn’t God for both justice and righteousness? How did we allow Satan to divide God’s standards of justice on the left and righteousness on the right?”

Various Bible verses come to mind. We are to love God and our neighbors as ourselves. We are not to be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). We are to look out for the least of society. We are to pray for our nation.

The verse that captures what we are witnessing today is Galatians 6:7, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

In closing, we must pray for healing and unity and that America continue to strive to live up to its creed of liberty and justice for all. Our collective voices must ring out against injustice. We must also remember that “making a difference is not for spectators, it takes active engagement.”

Every day is a day of thanks-giving, and despite differences, I thank God that I live in a country where I can continue to work with others for justice, truth and righteousness.


Senator Harold M. Metts, (D-Dist. 6, Providence) is a retired school administrator and is a deacon at Congdon Street Baptist Church.​