Public Witness

January 28, 2021

Allison Tanner

January 28, 2021

It’s about US. These three words, from a voting sign plastered all over Georgia in early January, provide important political, social and spiritual messages for our country. They serve to remind the people of Georgia that every Georgian has a stake in (and ought to vote for) what happens in their state and in their country. They serve to expand the understanding of who we the people are and who we the people ought to be. They serve as a reminder that the future of our country’s democracy depends in very real ways on the country’s ability to expand its vision of us as a nation.

The back of the sign reads, “I matter. You matter. We matter. Black Voter’s Matter.” This was a needed message in the wake of laws and practices (recently and historically) enacted to suppress and deny the rights of black voters. It re-mains a needed message in the face of both actions of overt white supremacists and deep structural inequalities of nearly every institution in this country. If we ever want to become the democracy we espouse and aspire to, the role of we the people must expand radically. Unless it is about the larger US, we will never create the U.S. we so proudly proclaim.

What I loved about this sign was the depth of messages it contains in these three powerful words:

  • Until us fully includes the black community, it isn’t US
  • Until the white community recognizes the ways us has never been a fully inclusive US – the U.S. will never become a fully inclusive US
  • Until Americans can admit that the attacks on the Capital were about limiting the scope of US, this country cannot overcome these limitations
  • Until African American history is understood as American history, we cannot fully become US
  • Until all who are privileged recognize the ways their privilege limits the equity of US, we cannot fully embrace US
  • Until this country can acknowledge the peoples who lived on this land be-fore us, we will never fully become US
  • Until this country can welcome those who seek to join us, we will not fully become US

The bottom line is this: if we truly want to be the democratic republic of the U.S., we must acknowledge that it must be about all of US. Our history has affected all of US and our future is dependent upon our ability to fully grasp God’s vision for US.

May we grow more fully into our understanding of US this year.

Pastor Allison