The Work Continues

                It is the week after election season 2020.  Since it took until the weekend for the winner to be declared, many are struggling to overcome the effects of their jubilant celebrations.  Still others refuse to accept the fact that Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris are the president and vice president elect of the United States.  They continue to make accusations of fraud, filing lawsuits, and even threatening ballot counters.

                Although we are no longer subjected to the atrocious speeches of the President of the United States, we must not turn our backs and forget what his words and actions revealed about the inner workings of this country.  We recognize America as a grand experiment of democracy, yet we must come to finally realize that this country is not the flawless beauty that we so often want to believe she is.  These past four years began the process of removing the makeup, lashes and hair extensions that disguised the ugliness of America’s systematic soul.

                We also had our rose-colored glasses snatched off and replaced with suitable corrective lenses.  Now we see things that were always before use but dim and unidentifiable.  Some of us have even undergone internal cataract surgery and now our vision is being flooded with light.  We thought we could see but now we can really see.  Sight is always a wonderful thing.  After the past four years many of us have emerged not only with sight but insight.

                The truth of the evil division that has for centuries vied for the soul of this country was laid bare before our eyes.  Our hearts ached when we saw it.  We often stared in disbelief, yet we could not deny what we were seeing.  Finally, the great God of the universe was equipping us to see the revealing truth that we tried so hard not to believe.  This country, that asserts that it is the servant of justice is, in reality, the servant of mammon.  Many hearts were broken and left to bleed as we witnessed what was in abundance in the heart of America.

                I too rejoice that we have a new presidential administration.  My hopes are high, but I refuse to turn away from what is still painfully true even as we feel a sense of decency about to ascend the steps to the White House.  Over 200,000 U.S. citizens have died from COVID-19 and the number is projected to rise significantly during this winter season.   Millions of Americans are unemployed, about to lose their homes, are unable to feed their families, are presently homeless and the people who represent us in Congress are playing power games with each other.  All of them are employed.  None of them are about to lose their homes.  None of their children are hungry and when they are diagnosed with COVID-19 they seem to bounce back as if they simply had the sniffles.

                This country has been in pain for a long time.  Many citizens, particularly those in positions of power are under the mistaken impression that restoring the economy is the cure for every illness.  Application of the principals of mammon will not cure America of her ailment.  At best it will only serve to reapply the makeup that makes her appear to be healthy.

Saving the soul of America begins with the same action that saves the soul of any human.  Repentance is the first step towards rescuing America’s soul from utter destruction.  It is more than an apology.  It is restitution and restoration.  It is challenging, laborious work and the citizens of America must insist that it is done and assist in its doing. 

We have been graced with the opportunity to truly push America towards a greatness that she has never fully realized.   As faithfully as we fought to ensure that citizens registered to vote and voted to elect a president and vice president that as many have said will “restore decency” to the White House, we must fight to ensure the equitable treatment of all citizens.  Now is the time for every citizen to get involved in the restructuring of democracy in America.

Voting Season is Ending

Tomorrow is the end of the election season in the United States. We will either have a new president or we will continue under the present administration. this election season has been unique to say the least. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic there have been rallies with people in close contact, many not wearing masks. In other places campaign rallies and town hall meeting have been virtual.

There have been instances of campaign buses being run off the road. Demonstrators are blocking the highways to ensure that people not make it to the polling places. People have been encouraged to watch the polls to make sure that everything is going “right.” People are still trying to decide who to vote for or whether to vote at all. While others are prepared to sit all day if necessary, to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

Our pastor has called for a 24-hour prayer vigil for our church from 7:00 PM November 2nd until 7:00 PM November 3rd. He has encouraged us throughout this season to exercise our right to vote. Exhorting us to be accountable citizens.  He has spent time teaching us why voting is important and how as Followers of the Way we must do justice in this world. Our pastor is also leading the way as our church prepares snacks for those persons who will be standing in line to vote on tomorrow.

The congregation has received instruction on specific things to pray for during the vigil.  Each congregant is asked to pray for one hour within the 24-hour period.  We are to pray for

  • God’s will to be done.
  • Safety at the polls.
  • For the hearts of leaders to be broken, filled with God’s love and God’s people to be revealed.
  • The aftermath of the election

On yesterday I took time to pray and prepare for the vigil which begins tonight.  I thought it important to think about what I would specifically be praying.  I created an outline and listed the items for which I would be praying under each heading.  Upon completing the outline, I observed that my heart is most concerned with the aftermath of the election.

It has been reported that some have said that if the candidate they want is not elected there will be violence.  In response I will pray for the safety of all citizens and each elected official.  Beyond that, my heart’s major concern is that after the election citizens will simply resign to their lifestyle and abandon the political process until the next “critical” election.  I am equally concerned that citizens fail to realize that the work that must be done to improve our lives and our society must be done by the citizens.  We cannot assume that elected officials will make the changes necessary to improve society where we live.  Rather we must hold elected officials accountable for enacted laws that make it possible for us to exact the necessary changes.

Voting is important to the foundation of our democracy.  Yet, democracy is much more than voting.  Democracy is observing the condition of society and having the construct to make changes to that society for the betterment of that society.  Democracy requires continuous conversation, continuous movement, and continuous restructuring.  Democracy is challenging and important work that is done by citizens every day at every level.

If you have already voted, thank you. If you plan to vote on tomorrow, make a plan.  If you have decided not to vote, that too is your choice.  Whichever applies to you, my hope is that you decide to activate your power to work to restructure democracy for the continued benefit of the citizens.  Voting is not the only thing that has to be done.

Voting for Survival

                This morning while listening to my local talk radio station, I heard an interview with a variety of college students about the upcoming election.  The interview centered around each student’s alignment with their chosen political party and views on voting choices.

                The republican students interviewed were primarily voting for the republican candidate based on the belief that he will strengthen the economy.  The concern was that they want to graduate college knowing that they will have a greater opportunity for employment and believed the republican candidate would provide that. 

                The students aligned with the democratic party were voting democrat primarily because they did not believe the country would survive four additional years of the present administration.  However, all of them were not necessarily pleased with the candidate. They inferred that democrats are too often placed in a position where they are expected to vote for a candidate that is weak on so many issues.

One student addressed the idea that some people were choosing not to vote because these were tense times and she understood but for her that was not the option.  She alluded to the fact that so often “our people,” meaning Black people, are placed in a position where we must make decisions for survival. 

So, the question becomes, can Black people survive another term of the present administration?  That young woman’s observation struck me.  Black people in this country, whether consciously or unconsciously, are always operating in survival mode.  “I just need to stay alive.”  Simply staying alive is always at the forefront of our mind.  Economic advancement, social status, political power, summer vacations, college funds, monetary investments and other “American Dream,” thoughts play a far second to the thought of staying alive.

My mind went to a scene of an enslaved Black man who knows that when the plantation master sends for his wife it the middle of the night, it was to rape her.  Yet, he could not stop her from going nor could he fight for her honor.  If he stopped her from going, he would be beaten or killed, and master would still have her.  If he fought for her honor, he would be killed, and their children killed or sold, and master would still have her.  So, he does nothing.  He chooses survival.  His family lives another day.  This decision-making process is still at work in us even today.  That is what “the talk,” is all about, how to stay alive another day.

There is no “exhale” moment for us.  There is never a time when we are totally and completely relaxed without a care in the world.  The average Black person knows this and operates in a constant state of conscious breathing because they know how quickly that breath can be taken away.

 Some Black people, those who have amassed money and small amounts of power among our people, seemingly do not realize that status and money do not relieve you of your melanin state of being.  They encourage our people not to vote.

Thinking that they have “arrived” at their destination of capitalistic equality, they protect their own interest. Yet, they are Pinocchio on a marionets string, performing at the puppeteer’s commands while thinking they are free.  This is their survival tactic, yet it does nothing to advance the community to which they must return when the strings are cut, and they are left sprawled on the stage in an abandoned theater.

COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting the lives of Black people.  The threat of eliminating health insurance for the poor will leave large numbers of Black people without adequate health care.  States, such as the one I live in are building mega prisons and providing substandard education to ensure that they are filled.  Police officers who took an oath to serve and protect all citizens are gunning down Black people for sport.  Once again, we are finding Black bodies hanging from trees in public spaces.  Food desserts make it impossible for Black people to locate and purchase healthy food and cities populated by Black people still have contaminated water.  These examples represent only a sample of the systems in operation to ensure that Black people either exist in a state of docility or die. 

Can the Black population in America survive four additional years of the present administration?  Answer that question.  Then vote.