Today is a day unlike any other. The most important election in our lifetimes, perhaps in the history of these United (Divided?) States, is upon us. I take it as a good sign that almost 100 million people have already voted, and many more will vote today. If nothing else, this election, coupled as it is with the pandemic, the recession and a renewed call for racial justice, has energized our usually sleepy electorate like never before.
The face of this electorate will be younger, more diverse and more committed to true systemic change than ever before. Regardless of what happens, there is a wave of color that is breaking upon our land, and nothing – no amount of hatred nor nostalgia for a more racist past – can change that fact. We will overcome. We believe in pluralism and diversity and in the promise, too often broken, that all people are created equal.
As we face this day and the days ahead, remember that we are not alone. I would recommend you take breaks from the news this evening to pray, meditate, read poetry and breathe. I will be in our ZOOM Vigil Room* from 6-9 pm this evening for a respite from the storm. I will offer readings and prayers collected from dozens of UU Ministers across the country who are sharing with one another through this long night.
I also offer these wise words from UUtheVote:
- Normalize that trustworthy election results will take time, and that democracy is worth waiting for. With such a huge number of absentee ballots we will need to wait for results. Resist the impulse to dread or celebrate election night results. Waiting will be our watchword.
- Find your role and take your shift. If you have volunteered today to be a poll worker or to provide support for those who are doing their best to ensure a fair election, Thank You! For the rest of us, take the time tonight to call someone who may be alone and afraid. Check in with those you love. Make time to connect as we wait.
- Leverage the power and the resources of your community. In the very unlikely case that we are in danger of civil strife, remember to check on those who may not have the resources you have. Continue to support those community partners who are providing needed services. Even with a fair and safe election, the days which follow will call on us to give even more of ourselves and our resources. Be prepared to answer the call.
- Make time for spiritual practice, self-care, connection, and joy especially over the long haul. Sustaining a coordinated pro-democracy movement for many days, or even weeks, will take mass numbers of people who are committed enough to take shifts and keep coming back over time. To do this, we will need to be rested, grounded, and connected to our hopes for the kind of world we are struggling to breathe into being. Get some sleep, hydrate, eat, take your medications, move your body, connect with your loved ones, wear warm clothes, take precautions against COVID-19 and other, seasonal, illnesses. Carve out time every day for prayer, meditation, singing, self-care routines, debriefing with trusted spiritual companions. Practice gratitude, vent your anger and fear, cry. Repeat regularly.
I and all your ministers will be with you the entire way. Call, text, email us with your concerns and needs. If you feel you are in danger in any way, reach out. We pray for a bright and certain outcome, even though the road there may be hard.
We have come so far; may the Spirit of Life and Love take us home.
Yours Always, Rev. John