Vengeance and forgiveness

Published June 27, 2024

By Carter Wrenn

Reading about Trump, Biden, politicians, in newspapers is like watching two warring camps – that hate each other. At rallies gripping the podium Trump tells Trumpster’s: ‘I am your retribution’ – forgiveness flies out the window.

We’ve walked down this road before.

Back in 1865, watching the South collapse, to sow seeds of forgiveness Abraham Lincoln told Ulysses Grant, ‘Let ‘em up easy.’ Grant put forgiveness ahead of retribution, paroled every Confederate soldier at Appomattox, including Robert E. Lee.

Five days later John Wilkes Booth assassinated Lincoln. Andrew Johnson became president – set on retribution, indicted Lee for treason.  Grant went to the White House, sat facing Johnson, told him stop or he’d resign. Johnson blinked. Dropped the charges. Forgiveness returned, slowly sowing healing.

It’s hard to watch Joe Biden standing behind the podium at a press conference. In one breath he’s doddering, in another a politician straddling fences. But he’s not obsessed with retribution.

Trump is – telling cheering Trumpsters at rallies, ‘I’ll screw the people who screwed you.’  In the blink of an eye forgiveness flies out the window.

But vengeance is a deadly road to walk.