Thursday, November 06, 2008
One step forward, two steps back . . .
For Episcopalians, anyway, this election is beginning to sound hauntingly familiar.
At General Convention 2006, we elected the first woman as our Presiding Bishop and Primate in The Episcopal Church and World Wide Anglican Communion.
A few days later, we passed resolution (hold your nose and vote) B033 which effected a moratorium on the consecration of duly elected LGBT people to the episcopacy.
It was as if we could not allow ourselves to progress too much - to advance the liberation of the gospel at too fast a pace - 'lest, oh, I don't know, we get giddy and foolish and actually start living out the promises of our baptism in Christ Jesus rather than just talking - or arguing incessantly - about it.
For Episcopalians, anyway, it's deja vu all over again.
I am still giddy from what we did on Tuesday. Barack Obama will be a stellar president. Then again, it won't take too much for him to shine, given the darkness and despair in which we've been living for the past 8 years. Then again, he's got one of the toughest "To Do" lists ever handed to a new POTUS.
Today, however, my giddiness is tempered by the fact that the referendum in California known as Proposition 8 is still too close to call. According to the web site, only 400,000 votes separate victory from defeat (well, from my perspective anyway) and there are an estimated 4 Million absentee ballots yet to be counted.
One step forward, two steps back. It's the dance toward justice every woman, person of color and LGBT people know well.
It's the dance that is surprised that an African American man who was in the top 10% of his class and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School could actually win the election as POTUS from a former POW who graduated in the low 1% of his class at the Naval Academy.
As Ms. Conroy said, "We don't need 8 more years of dumb."
The only surprise I have is that there was a surprise that Mr. Obama won the election. Handily. Without really breaking a sweat.
No, let me restate that. I am surprised by the status of the vote in California regarding Prop 8. And, that's just not my inner Pollyanna speaking or my stereotype of Granola Heads in California.
No, let me restate that. I am astonished that, in 2008, there is actually a movement, for the first time in our history, to write discrimination into the Constitution.
Yes, yes. I know. It ain't over till it's over. There are only 400,000 votes separating us from victory and approximately 4 million absentee ballots left to be counted.
Yes, I've also read the analysis. The word is that over 70% of those who voted for Proposition 8 are people of color. And yes, I've read the racist conclusions drawn by some of that analysis.
And, I am ashamed. Deeply.
Forget about surprise. Forget about shame. What confuses me, what completely boggles my mind is the whatever it is in our human DNA that seems always to want to put someone lower on the socio-economic ladder than we are.
My friend Dana, now numbered among the saints, used to call this "foot-on-neck" disease. We all suffer from it. It's a social disease that has, on occasion, been known to fulminate into a social epidemic.
As I reflect on these things in Boston, my beloved home town of 'Dirty Water', my thoughts are literally all over the map: Chicago and Delaware and yes, Arizona and Alaska. But, my prayers are in California.
Please pray with me. Pray for justice for all God's children. Pray for the equal application of our constitutional rights for every American citizen. Pray that the dream that gave birth to this great nation of ours will come true for everyone who lives here in the "land of the free and the home of the brave."
We have this sure and certain hope. Let us now be the change we believe in.