Rabbi Waskow: Crossing These (Election) Thresholds

Arthur+WaskowRabbi Waskow at the Shalom Center provides sharp insight into the American soul:

In this election campaign, the American people came to the edge of three thresholds. We crossed two of them and turned back from the third.

The first threshold was the choice of a fascist to be the Presidential nominee of a major party, with the strong support of voters who feel excluded, both economically and culturally, from the emerging new America.

The second was the choice of a woman to be the Presidential nomine of the other major party, with the strong support of the two largest racial minorities in American society. Crossing that threshold, on the basis of that support, looks toward the redemption of several anti-democratic elements that have dogged American history. Looks toward, but does not fulfill, the redemption we need.

The third threshold was to face up to the crucial fact that while the continuing impact of racism is one of the deep issues facing the American people, another is the widening gulf of economic inequality and the power that gives to Hyperwealth and Corporate Pharaohs. Among them are the Carbon Pharaohs that are burning the Earth, our common home –- committing global arson for the sake of their profit and power.

The great majority of younger voters did face up to that truth, but the majority of voters turned back at the edge – for now. But the question will not disappear, and answering it will require not only election campaigns but also a movement that can bring together responses to racism, responses to economic domination, and responses to cultural marginalization.

All three of these decisions the American public has just taken force us to face questions more profound than even who gets elected President this fall – though that choice will itself deeply shape the American future.

Boiling beneath the election returns are five questions. They are expressed in politics, but they are deeper than politics. At bottom they call into question not only individual spiritual yearnings but the spiritual life of our society as a whole:

1. How can we address the real fear and rage felt by many of those “original Americans” who voted for Trump, as they feel “their country” being swept away from them by Blacks, Latinos, Muslims, immigrants, feminist women, and GLBTQ people? — and all while not only their incomes but even their very life expectancies are falling, for the first time in American history?

Read the rest here.

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