Thursday, November 09, 2006

An Occasion for Not Gloating

While I have truly savored the high fives and excited conversations at church about the recent elections, I dread the coming of Sunday in the UUA when I anticipate how much gloating and triumphalism there may be expressed among our numbers.

I hope it's not so. I hope that Unitarian Universalists will refrain -- during worship and during fellowship -- from assuming that all their church members are similarly elated about the mid-term elections. I hope that they will refrain from their favorite sport of demonizing and insulting George W. Bush and modeling a political loyalty that is graceless and arrogant. When we speak with vengeful glee about anyone, no matter how easy to vehemently dislike, we show our members, friends and visitors that we're not so much people of moral discernment as we are people of aggressive partisanship.

I'm preaching to myself here, too, folks.

An election that creates so much opportunity for change in the land is cause for celebrating the democratic process, soberly reflecting on issues of accountability and responsibility, and praying for the strength to carry on with the task of "making the earth fair, with all her people one." It is, I think, a time to give thanks to God for the gifts of intellect, freedom of conscience and the universal fellowship of all human beings within the larger interdependent web.

(Oh gads, listen to me with my "interdependent web!")

When Bush took the office of president at the last elections, there was much wailing in UU land and among other religious liberals. We mourned, we rent our garments, we donned sackcloth and writhed around in ashes. That was understandable. But too many of our communities stayed depressed and beleagured, forgetting that to live out a joyful vocation in the world is not contingent on your guy being in office, but is contingent on FAITH: specifically a faith that love is still the operative creative force in the universe, that despite the political scene, we are blessed to be able to live out of that sublime source, and that no matter who's in office, we are free to incarnate that creative force in all our dealings.

How many times during the past 12 years, and especially the grim past three, have I recalled to myself those wonderful words from "Carry On:"

Rejoice, rejoice,
we have no choice.

Be faithful, be gracious. Remember, as the Democrats stand poised to take back both the House AND the Senate, that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and therefore our vigilance and moral discernment is still, and ever, required.


Blogger Obijuan said...

Just remind folks of all the "protect marriage" referrendums that passed across the country on Tuesday. I haven't found the laurels to rest on, yet.

Blogger Lynn said...

Thanks! I'm thrilled about the election, but the reason why my husband pretty much stopped coming to church was the complete assumption that UU=Democrat. It's also why I can't completely in good conscience urge my mother, recently widowed to become involved in her local UU church, because she and my father's lifelong community of activism is the Republican party. (Such that the governer of Maryland, a Republican at that time sent a letter of condolence.) Even though she is mostly disenchanted with the current direction of the Republicans, the frequent presentation of Republicans motives and background would be unseemly. And even though she is pro-choice and supports gay rights. (e.g. all of her national polical donations are funneled to Republicans for Choice, and other solicitations are informed of that.)

So thank you.

(Although I'm personally very happy about the election!)

Blogger Nathan DeMay said...

“When we speak with vengeful glee about anyone, no matter how easy to vehemently dislike, we show our members, friends and visitors that we're not so much people of moral discernment as we are people of aggressive partisanship.”

True, true true; I too hope your congregation understands this. All too often, and I think this is one of the fatal flaws of the Republican party of late, is the tendency to get so caught up gloating that the high-ground is completely forfeited for a feeling of “superiority.”

Blogger Siobhan said...

Amen, sister! and may it be so! May I have permission to quote this? (with attribution of course)

My own congregation, sadly, is often guilty of the sins mentioned. I cringe inwardly everytime I hear that invective, as I know several truly lovely members who are not of the Democratic Party persuasion, and often wonder if they feel marginalized sitting in our sanctuary, and feel less than welcome. I also know several people, (me included) whose spouses do not feel comfortable in our church for this very reason.

Blogger Sun Warrior said...

You know, its quite sad reflecting on the lost opportunity as The Rumsfeld exits.

Imagine if right after ousting Saddam, the U.S. called a constitutional congress of All Iraqis to immediately draft and form a government? Total buy-in right off the bat?

It is ironic that a party that hates government had to find out its own depth on the issue at Iraqis expense. They really take government for granted and want to just feed off it. So they supported Haliburton over the Iraqis.

Now the Dems can muddle the pie even more. How has a dozen years of this kind of neo-con Republicanism corrupted the whole system in Washington? Do the Dems have any reform genes left in their DNA?

Cross our fingers. Quite the mess to survey after the election, let alone clean up. I feel sorry for the sense of hope that elections always bring.

Blogger Chalicechick said...

(((Imagine if right after ousting Saddam, the U.S. called a constitutional congress of All Iraqis to immediately draft and form a government? Total buy-in right off the bat?)))

Then, given the numbers of conservative Muslims in that region, the result of a truly representative democracy would have been a government giving women approximately the same rights the Taliban gave them.

It doesn't do us any good to pretend that there are easy answers here.


Anonymous jinnis said...

Thanks for the post, PB. I had been tossing this idea around as part of this Sunday's sermon on radical hospitality.

In addition to the Republicans, members of the Libertarian party may not feel welcome, either.

Blogger PeaceBang said...

Siobhan, you certainly may. Jinnis, I was also thinking that non-gloating Democrats who are interested in fostering unity might also be put off by lots of unbridled UU high-fiving.

Blogger Bill Baar said...

Instead of gloating, UU's ought reconsider their infatuation with Lakoff. Here's Bruce Reed writing in Slate,

But give Democrats credit. Apart from a foolish summer fling with Ned Lamont and a late Laugh-In cameo from John Kerry, Democrats did just about everything right and ran their best campaign in a decade. Field marshals Rahm Emanuel and Chuck Schumer ignored the virtual industry of self-help nonsense that has paralyzed Democrats' chattering classes and went back to a simple, proven formula: From the suburbs to the heartland, elections are won in the center.

I don't think many politically oriented UU's have broken out of the paralysis yet.

The stodk markets told us divided government is a good thing. (Wall Street was happy.)

Whether that's true in a time of war I don't know. 911's lesson is we're virtually defenseless against a determined terror attack.

I have no idea how another would impact our politics. Terror is a wild card that checks anyones political forecast today.

That sad, from a Liberal's perspective, I think the risks are are a growing protectionist movement that would just further oppress those in the most grinding poverty; and deeping of the hesistancy to act in places like Darfur. (Which if Samantha Power's right, should be a small scale military operation.)

I was happy with Lieberman's win and that Emmanual's blue dog candidates won, but I never gloat in politics.

And then we in Illinois had so called progressives telling us to vote for Blagojevich because while he would indeed get indicted for corruption, his liberal (and awfully silent) Lt Gov would take over (assuming our Gov resigns if indicted ...which the Gov need not do).

When Liberals argue the case for the bandit-in-power, that is something to really cry about.

Blogger ms. kitty said...

PB, did I say something in my recent comment that was problematic? You have apparently ashcanned it, as it hasn't yet appeared in the comments for this post. Sure didn't mean to offend, if I somehow did.

Blogger PeaceBang said...

Sorry, Kitty. I go through the comments so quickly that I occasionally delete one accidentally. Thanks for pointing out that I did, and resubmit with my apologies. If only trolls didn't make comment moderation necessary!

Blogger ms. kitty said...

Just wanted to say that I appreciated your comments in this post and hope to offer the same message in my own recent blogging on the subject.

I am sad about the "protect marriage" referenda passed but also know from first hand experience that they tend to be challenged for their constitutionality and so the end may not be in sight.


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