For years I used to speak college classes about being lesbian and about some of the realities of being a minority without equal protection. I always emphasized the role that Christianity played in this country when it came to ensuring that GBLTQI persons were not afforded equal rights. Without fail, someone would raise their hand and say, “I’m a Christian and I don’t discriminate.” I would respond, “Then the burden is on you to speak up and not let right wing conservative Christians define or claim what it means to be a Christian.”
I find myself wanting to utter a similar sentiment to progressives and Democrats and Independents during the presidential primary and election campaign: “Don’t like the candidates and what they espouse or stand for? Then speak up and do something.” Let’s not just sit around in disbelief or horror and wonder how we got to this point. We’re here and it is up to us to act.
No church may endorse or sponsor a political candidate without putting its tax status in jeopardy. (We are allowed to take a position on any ballot measure or referendum or voter initiative.) That said, as Unitarian Universalists whose principles endorse the democratic process, I suggest we get busy. Get busy ensuring that Americans engage in the democratic process, educate themselves, and vote. If we do not and those who are traditionally marginalized by society do not, and if those who make up the vast swaying middle of sentiment do not, we will have no one to blame but ourselves come November 8, 2016.
This is no time to withdraw from a system from a lack of belief or trust in it or to make a statement. Others will rush in to fill the participation vacuum, skewing election outcomes. This is the year to make our system be accountable by engaging with it. The depth of what is at stake this election season is tremendous, far reaching, and long lasting.
Engage, educate, get out the vote, and vote.
Peace, Shalom, Salaam,