“Ed “Ed Schempp, from Barrington, New Jersey, has summarized our faith quite simply: Unitarian Universalism is a fierce belief in the way of freedom and reverence for the sacred dignity of each individual. With Jefferson, we have sworn eternal hostility against every tyranny over the mind. Unitarian Universalism is cooperation with a universe that created us; it is celebration of life; it is being in love with goodness and justice; it is a sense of humor about absolutes. Unitarian Universalism is faith in people, hope for tomorrow’s child, confidence in a continuity that spans all time. It looks not to a perfect heaven, but toward a good earth. It is respectful of the past, but not limited to it. It is trust in growing and conspiracy with change. It is spiritual responsibility for a moral tomorrow.” – A Chosen Faith, Church & Bueherens
Many people are asking each other, where do we go from here? With a long election season, we seem to realize that the United States are the Divide States, with divisions that hurt.
Politicians who capitalize on what’s wrong with our government in our country have seized power. The comment that worries me the most is that many, many people tell me they have family members they can no longer hold a conversation with. Are the deep familial bonds still there, or has politics robbed us of this too?
We cannot look away from the other half of the nation.
Certainly, if this election and its results have hurt you, it is time to feel that pain. Trying to avoid the sense of loss and grief will only entrench it into our hearts and cause us to look at our neighbors with fear. We must bravely face how we feel. Bravery, as I’m sure you know, is not the absence of fear but the courage to do what’s right despite fear. If we are to change the course of this nation, we must heal fear. Fear within ourselves, from old hurts we still carry. The fear amongst our neighbors, who are worried about their jobs, retirement, the economy. Fear in the community towards those that have been labeled as “the other” – the poor, the marginalized, the dispossessed. Even the fear of violence from those who are part of hate organizations such as the KKK.
Some of us are thrilled with the election results, a bold stance against corruption and business as usual. No matter how we feel about the results, many people are afraid.
How do we face these individual and collective fears? We can look to Unitarian Universalist forebears, who have fought for the abolition of slavery, votes for women, the rights of immigrants, marriage for GLBT+, and so much more. They show that while we may stumble, we have a tremendous capacity for bending the arc towards justice. Let us teach our children to be proud of who they are as Unitarian Universalists, unapologetically progressive theologically and in everyday life, and instill the sense of resistance as existence.
More than ever before, the case has been made that our civic duty must go far beyond electoral politics. We must reach out to our neighbor, even if they are the political or social ‘other’ and seek to understand. We must heal ourselves and offer that healing to others. We must talk to our relatives who we thought were lost to the politics of fear and division. If we are affluent white people, we must do this as the only ones who can from a place of relative safety. The people who picked the president were overwhelmingly white: women, men, college-educated and those without degrees. We must heal our people while reforming political process so our nation truly can be a place of liberty and justice for all.
Being apathetic towards politics because it’s just too hard to work with someone we don’t like has brought this nation to this point. Turn to one another. Seek refuge where you know it is safe, and then go out into the world knowing that we are behind you. Let us build a better nation for all, doing the best we can with what we have, in honor of all of those who have come before us to make the world a better place.