Cry The Beloved Country by Carol P. Christ
This election will have far-reaching consequences in relation to a number of issues I care deeply about. Among them are health care, social services, a social safety net, a graduated tax structure that taxes the rich and to a lesser extent the middle classes in order to provide services for the poor, equal pay for equal work, a woman’s right to choose, and gay rights. On these issues there is a clear choice between the two candidates for President and the two parties.
Democrats believe that health care is a human right, that social services should be provided for those who need them, that taxes should be paid by those who can afford to do so, that women have a right to equal pay and control of our own bodies, and that gays and lesbians should have all the rights of other citizens. Republicans believe that government does not need to provide or control health care, that social services are largely unnecessary, that it is unfair to tax the rich, that equal pay is not important if women have husbands, that the church and state should be making decisions about women’s bodies, and that homosexuality is a unnatural. There is a clear choice on these issues.
For this reason, I urge all of you who have not voted yet—and those of you who are considering not voting–to vote, no matter how long the lines are, no matter what intimidation you may face, and no matter what discouragement and disappointment you may be feeling.*
Nevertheless I feel like crying.
I feel sad that just about half of all Americans who intend to vote will be voting for the rich, against the poor, and against women’s—my–independence. It particularly saddens me that more than half of all white women may be voting against women’s independence, for the rich, and against the poor.
I feel sad that a Republican-backed, well-funded, and well-orchestrated campaign to prevent voters from voting, and to intimidate voters at the polls could determine election results. The right to vote is the foundation of democracy. When one party decides that it should do everything in its power to prevent certain classes of voters from voting, are we still living in a democracy?
I feel sad that the amount of money spent in the election by both parties causes me to wonder if the election is “bought and bossed.” Can campaign reform ever be passed while elected officials are beholden to big money?
I feel sad that the Republican party is willing to promote blatant falsehoods—such as the idea the Jeep factories in Ohio will be outsourced to China. Knowing the truth is an essential ingredient in a democracy. Only with the correct facts can people make considered judgments at the polls.
I feel sad that the effect of the military budget on the national debt was never an issue. Getting the US out of war and drastically cutting the military budget would free up a lot of money for social programs.
I feel sad that the environment and climate change were not seriously considered in the campaign. Will we continue to pollute the land and the water and to poison our inner cities? What will it take to make global warning a priority? Will we ever learn that people and the environment cannot be separated? Or will those who profit from environmental degradation and destruction continue to set the agenda?
There is a great deal to cry about this election season.
But before you do that, go out and vote.
Afterwards, have a good cry.
When the results are in, no matter who wins, we must come together, roll up our sleeves, and keep trying to save our beloved country, ourselves, our world.
*If you still need to find a reason to vote or if you just want to be inspired, check out Melissa Harris-Perry’s pre-election special Why Women Matter at the Ballot Box.
Carol P. Christ is a founding mother in the study of women and religion, feminist theology, women’s spirituality, and the Goddess movement. She has been active in peace and justice movements all of her adult life. She teaches online courses in the Women’s Spirituality program at CIIS. Her books include She Who Changes and Rebirth of the Goddess and the widely used anthologies Womanspirit Rising and Weaving the Visions. One of her great joys is leading Goddess Pilgrimages to Crete through Ariadne Institute.