Dear President Biden, Vice President Harris and the 117th Congress,
I need to begin by saying two things to you, President Biden, that I hope you don’t take the wrong way. The first is that I call you “Uncle Joe” when I reference you to friends and family. “Uncle” is not a slur, but in our Native American community, “Uncle” is a term of endearment and respect to wise elders. Secondly, I voted for you and fully support you and Vice President Harris, even though Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders were my primary choices. But you should also know, long before the primary debates, I predicted a Biden/Harris ticket. Why? Because you two are exactly what the country needs right now. I figure if I can set aside my personal bias for the good of the country, others could as well. It seems I was only partially correct.
“It is your obligation to swiftly mature America by speaking truth in love.”
You face a dilemma and divide even greater than that faced by Abraham Lincoln. At your feet has been laid a climate crisis, a health crisis, including the pandemic, an economic crisis, a racism crisis, a housing crisis, and a crisis in democracy. Ephesians 4:14-15 offers some advice, which we call in our Native American way, “speaking from the heart”: “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body…”
It is your obligation to swiftly mature America by speaking truth in love. Truth without love is harsh, and often rejected. Love without truth is not love, but rather neglect, superficiality, and willful indulgence—all of which are the opposite of love. That fine balance of tough love is what we need now for our nation to mature. I learned this the hard way, through having a child addicted to drugs. Time is urgent. Truth and love, President Biden. Grow the country with immediate kindness through relief and support at every level, while speaking the truth to all the past lies, without apology.
Randy S. Woodley
Rev. Dr. Randy S. Woodley
Professor of Faith and Culture, Portland Seminary
Co-sustainer, Eloheh Indigenous Center for Earth Justice/Eloheh Farm