In 1845 the Unitarian poet James Russell Lowell wrote,
“Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God’s new Messiah, offering each the bloom or blight,
Parts the goats upon the left hand, and the sheep upon the right,
And the choice goes by for ever ‘twixt that darkness and that light.”
Doesn’t it feel like that’s where we are as a society? We’re faced with what seems like one of the most important elections in our lifetimes. I firmly believe that the very soul of our nation is at stake. We MUST decide, as a society, what we want to be.
I can’t help feeling that we are in a dangerous moment- a moment when the forces of hatred, injustice, corruption and bigotry seem to be aligning against all that we hold dear. I see a very real danger to our democracy from those who espouse views of misogyny, homophobia, racism, violence and a callous disregard for the welfare of immigrants and the poor. There is a glorification of militia groups, attempts at intimidations at the polls and the undermining of our electoral process. Our elected “leaders’ seem to foment and encourage violence. Lies are told so often that many come believe the lies to be true. Institutions that purport to inform have become merely tools in service to the lies.
Those institutions which have tried to remain faithful to the cause of truth are called “enemies of the state” and those who dare to stand for the rights of all are attacked, ridiculed and discounted.
I sometimes feel that we’ve traveled down some dystopian rabbit hole where fairness, justice and compassion are considered a weakness, and “winning” is the ONLY important goal.
We Unitarian Universalists must be committed to a different path, though. It is a matter of faith and is, in fact, enshrined in our Fourth Principle (…the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.) and our Fifth Principle (The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all).
But what steps can we take on this path?
Certainly, one thing we can do is vote and do all we can to enable others to do so. Perhaps that means helping someone mail their ballot, or taking them to the polls(with proper precautions, of course).
But that’s the bare minimum. As perhaps never before, we must be prepared to do more. We must decide “in the strife of Truth with Falsehood” which we will support. Because silence and inaction are complicity. Perhaps that means writing letters, showing up at demonstrations or speaking to your neighbors. I can’t tell you what the “more” is. Only you can make that decision.
But this I do know: Whatever is required, we must remain resolute and constant as, above all, we side with love. May we all find the strength of character to live into our ideals.
Wishing peace, blessings and strength,