Earlier this week, in my capacity as a leader in the CA Poor People’s Campaign, I was asked by my friend, Clovis Honore, the social justice editor of Indian Times, to write a short paragraph on why we should fight for our democracy.
This is what I wrote:
“The so-called United States was founded in the genocide, built by enslaved people, and drenched in blood. The nascent democracy was not meant for everyone - this we know. But in the beginning there was a promise - a promise as yet unfulfilled. In the beginning, and throughout history, those denied the promise nevertheless could imagine its fulfillment in a more just, a more perfect, union. This promise is at the heart and soul of our democracy. Our imperfect democracy is worth fighting for because in so doing we are fighting for the soul of this nation. While there have always been those who would thwart that promise, there have always been those who have fought for it - who have struggled and died for this promise. We are called to be faithful to their memories, faithful to the struggle and faithful to our deepest moral values - uplifting the worth and dignity of all people and justice, equity, and compassion. In fighting for our democracy, we call for an end to systemic racism; poverty; the war economy and the militarization of our communities and borders; ecological devastation and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. In fighting for our democracy we are fulfilling the promise.”
I could have said more but I had a 200 word limit - only went over by two.
But here it is - we are, indeed, fighting for the soul of our nation. It is the call of our time. It’s not surprising to me that we are in the place we are at this time - there have been forces moving us to this place for decades. We have only to look at the way the religious right, right wing ideologues, and moneyed interests have merged into a symbiotic relationship to advance an agenda that concentrates power into the hands of a few. Religious nationalism is a tool of those interests.
I fight for our democracy because Love calls me into the struggle. Love sustains me in the struggle. My Universalist faith says no one is left behind. Everybody’s got a right to live. Everybody’s got a right to thrive. I fight for our democracy because I am indebted to those who have gone before who have fought and died for it. I fight for our democracy because in my cis-gendered white woman privilege I have benefitted from its rewards in ways that my black, indigenous, people of color, and lgbtqia+ siblings have not. I fight for our democracy because I do see the possibilities of dismantling systems of oppression and ushering in a just, equitable, and inclusive world.
One of the places where I most fully live that call is in the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. And right now we are being asked to participate in a MORE Faithful Month of actions. I see what so many of you are doing to be faithful - those pictures you sent in of yourselves doing what you can to fight for our democracy through making sure everybody can vote.
In times of uncertainty, humans look for stability, for surety, an authoritarian leader who promises security…”law and order.” This is where we are right now as you know.
There is, of course, no guarantee, but there is no other choice. As with Esther in the Hebrew scripture, I ask “who is to say we were not called for just such a time as this?”
Let us go forth with radical love, fierce compassion, and eyes-wide open hope.
And while we’re at it, let’s sing:
Everybody's Got a Right to Live
In solidarity, faith, and love,
Join me on Sunday October 18th at 2pm for this special event:
A California Statewide Webinar: Voting is Power Unleashed!
Rev. Dr William J Barber II
Sunday, Oct. 18 at 2-4PM PT.
Please register at: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_lLrUzuApRQOAxfhCeUdr2w. For more info contact: contact:email@example.com