To say I’m disappointed with the outcome of the U.S. mid-term elections is to massively understate the emotion connected to my understanding of what the results mean.
I do believe there is much to be learned from this mid-term election.
The most significant lesson is that in the US we are well past the tipping point: money is voice and power. We’ve been steadily on our way to that point, but we’ve finally arrived at our destination.
You only need to look at the early polls in my home state, North Carolina, to see the real and devastating impact. Early on in the Senate race between Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis, when the public “debate” was still focusing somewhat on what they stood for and their accomplishments in office, Hagan seemed to be the likely winner. With the draconian laws passed under Tillis’ leadership in the N.C. House of Representatives it is easy to understand why.
Enter the Koch brothers, or more specifically their money.
In a heartbeat, the campaigns took a twisted turn toward mudslinging and fear mongering. And you can see the results.
The election demonstrates that there are majorities of entire generations that can be manipulated by fear and self-interest.
Fear brings out the worst in humanity. Our inclination to empathize for and with those in need takes a backset to self-preservation. The GOP has learned how to play that tune like a virtuoso and Fox News is its fiddle. Practice makes perfect.
With the GOP taking over all of Congress, particularly with Tea Party lackeys like Tillis among the crowd, we will see legislative moves that aid the ever-growing separation of classes, which is defined by the continued shrinking of the middle class.
Corporations will continue to have more rights than people and those rights will trump the rights of individuals. Woman can expect to have more of their rights (particularly reproductive rights) challenged. It will be a continual battle to prevent those rights from being rolled back a hundred years.
And voting rights? Just look to N.C. All efforts will be made to disenfranchise anyone who is likely to vote against the Corporate Party of the U.S.
The Affordable Care Act will be dissembled piece by piece (they would do it in one sweeping motion if it weren’t already so deeply rooted in the public need) and then, as it fails due to their changes, they will point fingers at Obama for creating such a horrible thing and forcing it on the American public.
I’m also not convinced that we won’t see a renewed interest in privatizing Social Security so that the rich can get their hands on all that locked away money.
And if you can’t hear the coffers of the War Machine already jingling, you aren’t listening closely enough. A new rush to war will be on, there’s far too much money to be made to allow the innocent to live.
Finally, I’m sure President Obama is already assembling his team to take on the multiple threats of impeachment that are probably already in the works.
You can try to say that this is all an overreaction. You can even say the GOP is too smart to do many of these things, like impeachment, because they’ve seen how it negatively impacts them in the next election. I’d just remind you it hasn’t stopped them in the past and it certainty didn’t hurt folks like Tillis who did lots of these things in their state and then were elected to a national office.The thing you are missing is the shift of power — from the people to corporations, from the masses to the rich, from votes to dollar bills.
And we have to blame ourselves.
We have made gods out of money, power and greed. We have let fear rather than love and compassion rule the day as well as rule our hearts and minds. We allow our moral imperatives to be dictated to us through a glowing screen at the whims of those whose only interest is to keep us in our place as their own power and wealth grow.
As a minister I would be remiss to ignore the role of the Church in all of this. Some branches of the Church have played a key role in this downward spiral — teaching the masses to blindly follow, spewing a false theology that proclaims some people are more chosen than others, that differences are an abomination, that God needs us to force God’s “will” on others.
My hope rests in the reality that, in the end, love wins.
Time will heal this misdirection of justice.
But it will not do it idly. It requires our actions, our voices and our efforts to move back to a place where we as a nation value, support, and care for all citizens equally.
Do not let the ruling party distract us from the reality of our founding documents which tell us, “that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [the pursuit of Life, Liberty and Justice], it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
This misstep in our history of “We the People” does not send us over the brink, but it does place us that much closer. The good news is that we can still change our course. We can refocus on each other and equality rather than on money and fear. We can promote the greater good rather than the potential for personal good at the cost of others. We can value life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness over money, power and greed.
However, we must not be naive. Those who have money and power will not relinquish it quietly. They have proven time and time again that the greater good has not swayed them.
The arc of the moral universe may bend towards justice, but it does not bend gently. It bends behind sweat of the brow, creativity of the mind, and love from the souls of those who believe that every living being not only desires justice and equality, but also has a right to it.
Justice is not a passive pursuit. The moral arc will not bend without encouragement.
And we are the only encouragement it has left.
Let’s get to it.
Consider supporting Mark’s blogging. Help create a market for Progressive Christianity. Not through big publishers or big denominations, but through the grassroots. We need to encourage the growth of progressive Christian voices in the marketplace. Even a dollar will help.
Facebook continues to make it increasingly difficult for me to let you know about new blog posts like this. Please consider signing up for my mailing list where we can insure you are notified. Just click here!
Mark is a co-founder of The Christian Left. Come and join the conversation!