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Posts Tagged ‘justice’

unity papalini

The minister of my Unitarian congregation invited me to share the story of why I joined our church. The Sunday I’m scheduled to speak happens to coincide with a moment of extraordinary upheaval in the national Unitarian Universalist Association. A senior-level hiring decision unearthed patterns of white supremacy and bias that many people of my faith believed didn’t exist, not here, not among us. We see yet again that privileges, blinders, and oppressive structures exist everywhere — even within people of goodwill who speak of inclusion and equity. Even those of us whose deepest value is radical love.

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dance trilogy

When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.

– Audre Lorde

I buy the house for the future. Political variables do not enter into the equation. Of course the system will stay healthy enough to sustain my son and me. Housing markets rise and fall. Financial markets swing from bear to bull. Social security may last or disappear. Through all this, my house is insurance. The same is true of my education, my work experience, my retirement savings, my kid’s college fund. The road will have its bumps but we’ll be okay, more or less.

(But for how long?)

My decision fails take into consideration that truth is only assumption and that nothing is fixed.

Now a fear takes root, a fear bigger and more eclipsing than any I’ve ever experienced. Inside this fear swim all the possibilities of a much darker future. Inside this fear dawns a recognition of the fragility of my security.

Privilege, as it happens, will not protect me.

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money-in-bank2

Not enough to buy a senator, but it ain’t zero.

The afternoon lull is the devil’s playground. The task list hasn’t diminished but the energy to tackle it has. In creeps a craving: Pastry. Muffin. Want want WANT.  The Hunger — altogether different than being hungry — wells up and threatens to wash me out to the closest Panera.

At some point along the way, the occasional treat becomes a regular fix. I start plucking a couple of dollars a day from my already rickety financial scaffolding while simultaneously weighing myself down with doses of sugar. Treat turns to habit.

I’m ready to break it.

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klimt-a-arvore-da-vida

He asks.  I fumble.  Events crash past, plowing under a vocabulary both dated and outgunned.  My words like vestigial limbs grasp at an extinct terrain.

As we drive the short distance home, NPR wallops us with our nightly load of federal ordure. The new Congress just voted to pave the way for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.  Our representatives exhumed an old law which will allow them to slash the pay of any federal worker down to $1.  In a stage play of quasi-constitutionalism, those who ask the toughest questions wield no power.  The men in charge anoint a public opponent of civil rights as the nation’s Attorney General and an oil tycoon as Secretary of State.

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bread-puppet-resistance

Abandon plans for a democratic agenda.  Abandon hope for democracy at all.  The leadership of this country has shed any pretense of discourse about how best to govern.  Our leaders will seize, gut, silence, and reign.  They will topple any established checks on their force, and they will dispense with explaining themselves.  They will have no need to defend the twisted truths they spun as they advanced through a weakened democratic system into the control tower.  Why explain?  Why defend?  They now execute reality.

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congress-photo

Find out who represents you in the US Senate and House of Representatives as well as in your state legislature.  It’s easy to look them up with the Find your Elected Officials tool created by Common Cause and the Sunlight Foundation.

Make note of who your representatives are.  Take a few moments to find out how they have voted on immigration, education, reproductive rights, environmental policy, health care, protection of marginalized groups, and other critical issues.

Most importantly, make note of their addresses and phone numbers.  Bookmark them in your browser and program them into your phone.  The only way they’ll be responsive to us is if we start putting our concerns in front of them.


 Image: Library of Congress

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vivir-sin-fronteras-colordsgfix.jpg

Here is a small selection of things that don’t work:

  • Wearing black
  • Fretting
  • Posting “Joe Biden: White House Troublemaker” memes (although a giggle is good medicine)
  • Wearing a safety pin
  • Returning to safe, familiar, more-or-less neutral patterns of work and social life
  • Conflating the expression of feelings with action
  • Rehashing outrage and fear in casual conversations with friends and family who agree with us
  • Repeatedly checking social media to watch horrors as they unfold
  • Waiting to see what else he does before doing anything ourselves

Here is what does work:

  • Asking the next question: What action will we take today — this very day — in the service of justice and our common future on this planet?

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