It’s been almost two years since I last wrote a blog entry. Amusingly, that entry was written two weeks after the election. I’m not sure what exactly tipped the scale, or what proverbial straw overburdened this camel to the point of breaking… but something did break, and in the breaking something was released.
Certainly, the appointment of Kavanaugh had something to do with it. Regardless of whether you believe Dr. Ford or not, his character was unveiled as he defended himself and in spite of the rampant partisanship he displayed he was confirmed. Perhaps it has to do with the treatment of the clergy of our immigrant churches? Or the up-tick in hate crimes and membership in White Supremacy groups?
Alternatively, perhaps it is the encouragement of dear and good-meaning friends who have responded to all of this with a reminder to us all to exercise our power in the ballot box. I fear the rallying cry of ‘vote’ is all too similar to those who offer ‘thoughts and prayers’ after gun violence: these actions are important, but at this stage they are not enough.
Don’t misunderstand me, we absolutely need to get out and vote… and we need to muster everyone to exercise that responsibility regardless of political affiliation. However, participation in democracy cannot end there. Voting, similar to the aforementioned ‘thoughts and prayers’ can be done from a distance. What is required in democracy (and, the Christian faith) can only be done in relationship.
Robert D. Putnam’s book, Bowling Alone paints a bleak portrait of an America with a trend toward social isolation. More than anything, I think this trend has enabled the situation we are currently in. These last few days I’ve encountered an antidote – Fear+Less Dialogues – that I find persuasive. Dr. Ellison encourages us to see the invisible, hear the unheard and change the world three feet at a time and that change begins by seeing people as humans.
So… Vote. Pray. Write. Protest. Run for office. Volunteer. Smile at your neighbor. Talk to the person next to you at the coffeeshop. Join a choir. Learn the names of the kids in the upstairs apartment. See people. Hear people. Love people.
I’m going to start working on my three feet.