Antidotes to the Poison of Political Despair

"Democracy is Coming to  the USA.”

We will transform and heal America! Despite and even Because Of what happened this past Saturday, scarring the Shabbat of Beginning, of Creation --  

Two antidotes to the Poison of Despair: Prophecy to warm our hearts and souls, Action to strengthen our arms and legs.  Each is empty without the other. 

As our Prophet Leonard Cohen cries out --

    "Democracy is Coming to  the USA.”  IS COMING, God knows, not here yet. In the White House, Congress, & Supreme Court  -- all monuments to the past -- Democracy is even further off than it was the week before. But in the streets and kitchens and elevators that are shaping the future of America, Democracy is coming even closer than before.  

Before you read Leonard Cohen’s words (below), please click here to hear him sing the words while you can see them below at the same time :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU-RuR-qO4Y

"Democracy is Coming to  the USA.” 

It's coming through a hole in the air, 
from those nights in Tiananmen Square. 
It's coming from thefeel 
that this ain't exactly real, 
or it's real, but it ain't exactly there. 
From the wars against disorder, 
from the sirens night and day, 
from the fires of the homeless, 
from the ashes of the gay: 
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. 

It's coming through a crack in the wall; 
on a visionary flood of alcohol; 
from the staggering account 
of the Sermon on the Mount 
which I don't pretend to understand at all. 
It's coming from the silence 
on the dock of the bay, 
from the brave, the bold, the battered 
heart of Chevrolet: 
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. 

It's coming from the sorrow in the street, 
the holy places where the races meet; 
from the homicidal bitchin' 
that goes down in every kitchen 
to determine who will serve and who will eat. 
From the wells of disappointment 
where the women kneel to pray 
for the grace of God in the desert here 
and the desert far away: 
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. 

Sail on, sail on 
O mighty Ship of State! 
To the Shores of Need 
Past the Reefs of Greed 
Through the Squalls of Hate 
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on. 


It's coming to America first, 
the cradle of the best and of the worst. 
It's here they got therange 
and the machinery for change 
and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. 
It's here the family's broken 
and it's here the lonely say 
that the heart has got to open 
in a fundamental way: 
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. 

It's coming from the women and the men. 
O baby, we'll be making love again. 
We'll be going down sodeep 
the river's going to weep, 
and the mountain's going to shout Amen! 
It's coming like the tidal flood 
beneath the lunar sway, 
imperial, mysterious, 
inamorous array: 
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.!

Sail on, sail on ... 

I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean 
I love the country but I can't stand the scene. 
And I'm neither left or right 
I'm just staying home tonight, 
getting lost in that hopeless little screen. 
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags 
that Time cannot decay, 
I'm junk but I'm still holding up 
this little wild bouquet: 
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.!

 And then click to

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wRYjtvIYK0 

to hear another prophetic song --   “Anthem”:

“I can’t run no more with that lawless crowd –
While the killers in high places say their prayers out loud;  
But they’ve summoned up a thunder cloud,
And they’re going to hear from me! [from Me!]”

As the Voice spoke to --  or within --  Moses at the Burning Bush, "Ehyeh asher Ehyeh.  I Wil Be Who I Will Be, I Am Becoming Who I Am Becoming. " And by growing into that Name of the universe, Moses and Aaron and Miriam were able to lead a movement to resist and overthrow Pharaoh and to shape a new kind of community: flawed then, flawed now, but always open to Becoming. 

There were many setbacks -- and at each one, the human community and the Earth itself took a deep breath and went forward.

Today, we in the USA are facing not just "conservative" but  neofascist control of the White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court.  It is not only Americans who are in danger  but humans and other life forms throughout the world that is burning because our government cares more for Corporate Carbon Pharaohs than for our grandchildren. It is a government that seeks to subjugate women, Blacks, Muslims, Latinx, GLBTQ folks, the poor, the hardworking middle class, dissenters and the independent press, Mother Earth herself. 

 How do I distinguish between "conservative" and "neofascist"? The markers are these items: Deliberately destroying families of one ethnic group and imprisoning their children in tent cities with contaminated water, to deter legitimate requests to be assessed for refugee asylum. Supreme Court nominee charging legitimate questions put by US Senators to him to be the result of a left-wing conspiracy.  President and Congressional leaders calling hundreds of women and men visiting and talking with Senators  and then doing nonviolent sit-downs as "mob action" carried out by actors hired by George Soros (using his name as an antti-Semitic dog-whistle). President tweeting: "You don’t hand matches to an arsonist, and you don’t give power to an angry left-wing mob. Democrats have become too EXTREME and TOO DANGEROUS to govern."  

Lifting up such "outlandish" thoughts makes them thinkable, and then it becomes do-able to enforce them. (Like ripping young children away from their mothers and fathers.) . Yet the power to speak and act in neofascist ways is held by only bare majorities. There is a Resistance, and we can see ourselves growing in numbers and in awareness of what we share with each other and in commitment to the ONE whose Name is "I Am Becoming."

Turning this into action: Every house of prayer in America should be reaching out these next four weeks to Grow the Vote. To Grow in numbers the voters -- often the Millennials, the Blacks, the Latinx --  who historically have tended to vote less in "mid-term" elections. To Grow in awareness that our religious traditions themselves keep growing to empower the previously excluded.  To oppose subjugation. To light up the Spark of God in every human being and every life-form. 

 One helpful on-line resource on how non-profits like synagogues or Truah can Grow the Vote for a broad constituency (e.g. college students of all backgrounds) is at https://www.nonprofitvote.org/ 

Another, created by the JCPA and aimed at specifically Jewish audiences, is at 

http://www.jewishpublicaffairs.org/jcpa-publishes-2018-candidate-and-voter-engagement-guide/

This year, Voting is a sacred act. As sacred as a wedding, a baptism, a Ramadan fast, a Yom Kippur confessional, a Mourners' Kaddish, a silent Meditation.  

Our legs must pray by marching, marching for Bread and Roses, too. Our hands must pray by marking, marking the ballots of Empowerment.   Our voices must pray by lifting up new prayers: "The heart has got to open in a fundamental way."

Sail on, sail on 
O mighty Ship of State! 
To the Shores of Need 
Past the Reefs of Greed 
Through the Squalls of Hate 
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on! 

Please share this Prophetic outcry and action steps with your friends, colleagues, congregants.

And ---  --  we need your help to keep undertaking action, prayer, prophetic outcry, even arrest  as we have in these last weeks. Not just "want" your help but need it. Please click on the maroon “Contribute” button in the left margin on this page, and then please make as much of a contribution as you can. 

Blessings to you and yours of Shalom, salaam, sohl, paz – not only “Peace” but the struggle, the justice, and the healing that are enwrapped in peace--  Arthur


 

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