“Citizens, good citizens all…parade into voting boothsand in self-righteous sanctity…X away our right to life.I do not believe as some…that the vote is an end,I fear even more…it is just a beginning.”
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Just Do It!
America’s democracy appears to be ailing. For aren’t we indisputably witnessing unprecedented attacks by the American Presidency on the media; the judiciary; federal law enforcement; the electoral process; state and local governments; Congress; democratic customs and principles; and civil society to name a few. Daily, the divider in chief, Donald Trump, spits rhetoric that increases political polarization; stirs up racial and religious hate; incites social and cultural division; encourages extremists; denigrates women, people of color; and threatens to reverse the hard-fought civil rights gains of the LGBT community and even more alarming, to erase people of Transgender experience. And so, whenever afforded an opportunity to stem the failing health of America through the vote, “Just Do It“!
This November is not only the month of Thanksgiving and Transgender Awareness, it is also “midterm elections” time. Much is at stake. More pointedly, a lot of possible futures hinges on these election outcomes. For this reason, I reflect on words from, “The Perversion of Silence” by Black Lesbian poet, Pat Parker …
After all, is it not the beginning that “good citizens” rendered so precisely on November 8, 2016 in transforming America into “the land of the free and home of the deranged”. Every day since that fateful day, one community after another of “good citizens” has been terrorized and made to feel powerlessness for America choosing Trump.
Yet, these communities of “good citizens” sit precariously in a false sense of “safe mode” presuming that Trump’s vitriol will not impact them because it is directed at people who have been historically marginalized and/or oppressed – that is, until it visits their community. It seems that the last presidential election was all about “ME, ME and MINE”. And if truth could be told, probably isn’t too farfetched to assume that “RACE TRUMPED EVERYTHING”. Thus, if an honest assessment can be made regarding the state of America since that election, it is a sure bet to say that nothing nor no one should expect to be spared from the obscenity and moral bankruptcy of a “Trump” led America.
Consequently, building resistance to “Trump” led America is a good start, but not enough. My concern is that “good citizens” will continue to sit silently by feeling inconsequential. Regrettably, such apathy reflects what Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil… Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” In other words, “good citizens”, NOW is the time that we, as a country, pay attention to the common good, and not just to our self-interest. There is more to life than personal economics. It’s going to take the actions of “good citizens” to undo acts of injustice in America and to keep the precarious balance of democracy alive.
Finally, in this, America’s season of Thanksgiving and “midterm elections”, my hope is that “good citizens” will do the morally responsible thing and take the larger good into account as we step into the voting booth. Remember always that God is bigger than our problems or any adversity that we might face. Hear anew Jesus’ call for proper concern for the less fortunate and those who don’t fit in neat categories which includes most of us. So, “Just Do It“! – get busy, let’s do our part and God will do the rest.
Yours in Resistance…. Reverend Gale Jones, Executive Pastor