Keepin’ On Keepin’ On by Carol P. Christ


carol-p-christ-photo-michael-bakasIt is now Monday morning, five days after the new President was elected, despite losing the popular vote.

For many of us, and for me too, losing this election feels like losing everything we have worked to achieve during our whole lives. One of my friends wrote, “I am totally distraught and unable to focus.” My cousin said, “I feel like I am in Nazi Germany in the 1930’s.”

I have been scouring the internet to try to figure out what we can still do to try to create a world that guarantees liberty and justice to all people and all beings in the web of life.

There is much to fear. The rise of White Nationalism. The end of environmental protection. The end of Roe vs. Wade. The end of gay marriage. The end of voter protection. Even more dark money in politics. The end of American democracy. Pussy grabbing and hate speech normalized. Mass deportations. A hollow narcissist’s finger on the nuclear trigger.

While I feel shocked and numb, I also feel an eerie clarity. The election of the new President may be worse than anything that has happened to our country in my life time. But it is not the first time that “my fellow Americans” have elected a President whose values are diametrically opposed to my own.

Yes it is bad.

But it has been bad before. Remember Nixon? Remember the Vietnam War? Remember when most black people in the South could not vote at all? Remember lynching? Remember women dying of back alley abortions?

And it is bad now. Let us not forget Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. Let us not forget women murdered by their husbands and partners. Let us not forget that mass extinctions have begun. Or that people have begun to flee Africa because of global warming. Or that the US is still in Afghanistan and did not create peace in Iraq.

Those of us with a radical progressive political agenda would still have had to fight for our ideals if Hillary Clinton had been elected. We were gearing up for a long fight. Hillary Clinton was and is far more progressive and far more qualified than Trump. But there was no certainty that she was fully committed to the Democratic platform. Nor was there any certainty that if she was fully committed to the platform, she would have been able to implement very much of it with a hostile House of Representatives—even if the Democrats had won the Senate.

There are important things she could have done and would have done. She would have appointed progressives to the Supreme Court, assuring the preservation of abortion rights and gay marriage, possibly restoring voter protection and limiting the influence of dark money. But would she have reined in Wall Street? Would she have changed from a liberal hawk to a champion of peace and a demilitarized America? Would she have committed herself to doing what it really would take to save the environment? Could she have gotten guns off the streets in America? Could she have reformed the police? Could she have changed the way the media fails to cover public policy issues accurately and in depth?

Things will get worse—for immigrants, for minorities, for women, for gays, for the poor, for animals, for the environment—with Trump as President. Suffering will be increased. And that is good reason to feel sad, to feel empathy, to feel compassion, to feel angry.

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At the same time, we must keep on keepin’ on, holding on the vision that we can create a better world and fighting to achieve it, as we have done all our lives. That has not changed.

Michael Moore suggests a place to begin:

Must quickly and decisively form an opposition movement, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the 1960s. I will do my part to help lead this as I’m sure many others (Bernie, Elizabeth Warren, MoveOn, the hip-hop community, DFA, etc.) will, too. The core of this opposition force will be fueled by young people who, as with Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter, don’t tolerate BS and are relentless in their resistance to authority. They have no interest in compromising with racists and misogynists.

Elizabeth Warren urges us to volunteer two hours a week for a progressive organization–such as Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter, or an environmental group–to strengthen these groups so that when the time comes of act together we will be ready.

We must keep on keepin’ on, as we have done all our lives.

* * *

Carol P. Christ’s new book written with Judith Plaskow is Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology. They are co-editors of Womanspirit Rising and Weaving the Visions. Carol wrote the first Goddess feminist theology, Rebirth of the Goddess and the process feminist theology, She Who Changes.

Listen to Judith and Carol’s first interview on the book on Northern Spirit Radio and their second on WATER. Carol and Judith will be speaking about their new book at the American Academy of Religion in San Antonio on Saturday and Sunday November 19 and 20 and at a public lecture on November 21 in San Antonio.

Carol P. Christ leads the Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete. Join the 2017 spring and fall tours now and save $150.

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Categories: abuse, Abuse of Power, Activism, civil rights, Ecojustice, environment, Feminism, Social Justice, War and Peace

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20 replies

  1. thank you Karolina. This helps. I see that only our collective action can make a difference (since we are over 50% we are over the tipping point!)

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  2. Thinking about how focused we are on active resistance, I am wondering whether a more powerful response would be spiritual, through spells and incantations. Active resistance to power (e.g., through marches and rants) seems likely to fan the destructive flames rather than quench them. How do we tap the power within?

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    • Dear womonwrites,

      I have nothing against prayer, meditation, spells, or rituals. They can help us to change our own consciousness and strengthen us in our commitments.

      However, I think we need to engage with others and work to change the systems that oppress in practical ways as well.

      Street protests also are not enough.

      There are many ways to do practical things. As Elizabeth Warren suggests, you can donate time to a group that is helping others in practical ways. You can speak with your friends, you can speak up when you hear racist or sexist speech. You can find your own ways to do concrete things while you are praying, meditating, or creating rituals.

      And it is important to do something with others. You–we–are not alone. After all 2,000,000 more of us voted for Hillary than for Trump!

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  3. I agree — abolish the electoral college. Hold presidential elections based on popular vote. One person one vote. There’s a petition to abolish the electoral college at petitions.moveon.org — a huge number have already signed it, and I’m sure that number will increase much higher.

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  4. I have never felt this powerless. I have been an activist for Nature all my life and for women (and men) in one capacity or another for thirty years. The isolation and profound fear that I experienced election night has mushroomed because I am one of the “different ones” a woman with mixed (Native American/white) heritage and have already been singled out for scapgoating too many times in the past 10 years.. I am a woman without a country. I don’t belong anywhere. Petitions aren’t enough. We need masses of people people with their feet on the ground protesting this atrocity. And most of all we have to STOP BLAMING HRH. I am exhausted by the rhetoric that continues to batter this woman who actually qualified to run this country AFTER the election. She’s become the scapegoat for ‘everything that went wrong’

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  5. Here is a binding spell that I posted on my Facebook page. Also, let’s follow Kate’s example and wear our safety pins. I’ve already ordered my “Not My President” bumper sticker. We have to do as much as we can to save ourselves and the multitudes that The Donald wants to exterminate.

    Eye of Newt—now The Donald—a Binding Spell

    I first wrote this spell in 1994 when a certain Member of Congress from Marietta, Georgia, took out his Contract On America. I sent the spell out on the Net and know that it was used a few times. I rewrote it to put in my new book, Finding New Goddesses, but decided that it’s much too serious a spell to put in a book of humor, so the spell stands alone again. I have used it successfully though carefully, on several occasions, and so have other people. Remember what Z. says—a Witch who can’t hex, can’t heal.

    Now The Donald has been elected. We’re going to have a sexual predator in the White House. Maybe this spell can help the United States survive.

    Before you begin this spell, be totally clear in your mind that your intention is justice, that you are binding this person to protect yourself (or others in need of protection). Gather the following ingredients:
    1. A small glass bottle with a lid (an empty spice bottle is the ideal size)
    2. A small piece of paper on which you can write the offender’s name in black ink. If you have received any written communication from him, tear his name from the paper and use that.
    3. Black thread
    4. Five fishhooks, five thorns, five straight pins (optional if you can’t find thorns)
    5. Dragon’s blood incense
    6. Sesame seeds
    7. Frankincense or a garlic clove (powdered garlic also works)
    8. Ashes
    9. Salt
    10. A cup of water
    11. A small black candle, matches, an ashtray.

    Note: If you don’t have all the ingredients on hand, you can modify this spell. All you really need are your intention (clear in your mind and clearly stated), the bottle, the paper and a pen, the sharp things, the water, and the candle.

    Cast your circle around a table where you will work. If you have a tarot deck, place Justice on the table. Invoke one or more of the fierce protective goddesses, the goddesses of justice, the goddesses who defend those who may have no one else to protect them:

    • Scathach, She Who Strikes Fear
    • Kali-Ma, the Dark Mother Who destroys what will destroy us
    • The Holy Furies, Who avenge all crimes against women
    • Nemesis, Who bring the force of justice against those who break social rules
    • Maat, Who bring truth to the scales of justice
    • Themis, Who restores moral order to the world.

    Pronounce your intention using the following or similar words:
    [Name of goddess], I, Your child, cry out to You. [Name of offender, if known] has offended Justice. [Name] is threatening the freedom and safety of Your children by his actions in [explain what he had done or is doing, in as much detail as you need to]. [Goddess], my intention is justice. My intention is the protection of women and children. My intention is [be specific about what you need]. [Goddess], my intention is the binding of this man, [name him again] who brings fear and danger. Let what he intends return to him threefold. Let his mean spirit and his irresponsible actions cover him seven times seven. Let his arrogance and harmful ways bury him as deep as the sea is deep. Let his language and hatred of women return to pollute him. Goddess, give him a taste of his own medicine!

    Holding this intention in your mind, visualize it moving down your arms and into your hands. Visualize the power of the Goddess growing in your fingers. When you’re sufficiently empowered, write the man’s name on the piece of paper. Crumple the paper and wind it with the black thread, thirteen turns. Tie a really good knot, saying, [Name] is tied up by his belief in patriarchal domination. Let him tie himself down before he can do more harm.

    Being very careful not to prick yourself, stick the fishhooks and thorns or pins into the paper. Drop the paper into the bottle, saying, Let [name] be hooked and caught in his own mischief. Let [name’s] conscience come alive and prick him. Let [name]get back the harmful intention that he has sent out. Let [name] be caught and punished.

    Sprinkle an appropriate amount of dragon’s blood incense over the paper in the bottle, saying, Let this spell by strengthened. Add a pinch of sesame seed, saying, Let this spell be quickened.

    Add a pinch of frankincense or a garlic clove, saying, Let him feel the harm of his own words and actions. Add a pinch of ashes, saying, Let him learn how it feels. Add a pinch of salt, saying, Let him be brought to earth and sealed.

    Pour the water into the bottle until it is nearly full and put the lid on the bottle, screwing it tightly closed. Light the black candle and drip wax over the lid to seal the bottle. Let it drip down the sides, too. After the wax has cooled, and if you feel moved to do so, inscribe an appropriate sigil or a rune in the wax. Saturn, whose sigil signifies limitation, is good. So is the rune hagalaz, which signifies disruption and unforeseen bad luck.

    Ground the energy and open your circle. If you live near a body of water, toss the bottle into it. Or bury it deep, deep, deep in the ground and walk away from that spot.

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  6. Ending misogyny, racism and environmental degradation will not happen without radical change, without the radical understanding that thinkers like Carol give us. However, that change is unlikely to happen quickly by revolution, and if it did, it would be highly disruptive. Truly satisfying change is a long term goal and cannot peacefully happen without a consensus and active participation of the majority of the population. It’s true Hillary would have faced major difficulties in achieving these goals in eight years, however, her platform addressed them and would have led us in the right direction. I believe she would have led progress about as fast as it could peacefully go. She is an accomplished politician and stateswoman. That is what we need in the intermediate term and what we lost. Rather than criticizing her for not being radical enough, I hope feminists everywhere on the conservative to progressive to radical spectrum will value and support Hillary Clinton and leaders like her. In addition to the moving-forward suggestions Elizabeth Warren has suggested, we can also still support Hillary (and those women who will follow her) by recognizing and publicizing how Hillary was impeded because she is a highly competent female seeking a leadership role in a misogynist world. She was one of the first to recognize the “vast, right wing conspiracy,” for whom she was an easy target because she’s a woman. In my opinion, she has heroically stood up to these pressures throughout her career. If she was not overt as a feminist, she was right at the progressive edge of pushing for what could actually be accomplished in America. That’s what democratic political leaders do. That she was not an overt feminist aided her in focusing the country’s attention on the policy issues while she still remains an important symbolic leader for women by her presence and survival, and her policies, “Stronger Together,” embody feminist thinking of power with, not power over.
    Radical thinkers and activists are needed, and competent political leaders are needed – now desperately needed with these bullies in office. Please let us support the women and men that move us in the right direction, even if their roles and strategies differ from ours. It is going to take many hands and hearts to dislodge the evil upon us.

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    • I would say she is an overt liberal feminist, intent on achieving women’s rights within the system. This is not a criticism. I think she would have done a lot for women as President. However, she is not an ecofeminist or an anti-war feminist (I am both). And yes, I agree with you that it was white men and women’s sexism (in rural areas) that brought her down, sadly for our country.

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      • You are right, not agreeing fully with Hillary Clinton is not a criticism.

        I am not happy with incremental liberal change, but, especially in the face of the extremist right that was Clinton’s opposition, and is now in power, pragmatic politics and compromise may be necessary for survival. As may be other forms of action, such as protest and resistance. As we choose our actions, I think it is helpful to sometimes distinguish between the intellectual world and the political world.

        I think, in the political world, the way to support women leaders who may hold views with which you do not fully agree is to continue to identify and protest, on their behalf, the sexism that afflicts them and us. They are not always in a good position to do that themselves, because it takes them off-message from their core policy and position work. And being overt can backfire on them, whereas those of us who can be more independent can speak more overtly.

        No one of us can do it all, all the time. I have faith that we are all trying our best in our own ways. Thanks for the opportunity to share views, and your reassuring message of endurance.

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  7. I keep looking around my apartment to see where I might hide a refugee. Not very practical in a 480 sq.ft. bach. suite! But an indication of what even people not living in the US might feel. Since we live just next door to you, I’m going to volunteer at the Women’s Centre (if they’ll have me!)
    We have politicians, including a woman, who adore Trump and celebrate his policies. Canada is not immune. We barely escaped Harper and still have his mess to clean up.

    Things look bad, feel terrible. But I look around and see people organizing for non-violent action. Perhaps this crisis will wake up the sleepers who thought all was well. They still sleep, but when their “saviour” doesn’t save them…. Where did people get the idea that the Corporations that have moved their jobs to other Countries, cut down the trees, are polluting the waters, would give a bean about them in the person of the donald?

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  8. Your wisdom, as always, is appreciated and taken to heart. Your former student at San Jose State (Class of 1979), Sherry Landrum Ridgeway.

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  9. Thank you so much for this post, Carol. It reaffirms so many things I’m thinking and hearing in my social circle — this is bad, but things have been bad before. One can’t consider this the “death of America” without overlooking genocide, slavery, oppression, and war. This signals a shift in the popular consciousness of the US, and it’s a shift that is scary and will hold definite, concrete consequences for women, LGBTQ+, Muslims, POC, immigrants, etc. I’m scared for myself and my friends.

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  10. “Things will get worse—for immigrants, for minorities, for women, for gays, for the poor, for animals, for the environment—with Trump as President. Suffering will be increased. And that is good reason to feel sad, to feel empathy, to feel compassion, to feel angry.”

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  11. What is your vote really worth? Depends where you live. Explain to me how this is equal representation.
    https://wallethub.com/edu/how-much-is-your-vote-worth/7932/

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  12. Thanks Carol…. I will post this article on my Facebook Page… Lady Liberty Sisterhood…I added you to the group so women’s voices could be heard during this heated political climate here in America… you are also welcome to post your comments on the page as well… they are welcome…. JoAnna Silvewitch

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