Rabbi Arthur Waskow :
The election: Heartbreak and beyond

Here’s what we need to do: First, mourn.
Then organize.


“Grief” by Augustus Saint-Gaudens in Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington D.C., a memorial commissioned by Henry Adams to his wife Marian.

By Rabbi Arthur Waskow | The Rag Blog | November 9, 2016

First, heartbreak and mourning.

For the America where we thought at least a majority was too menshlich, too compassionate, to turn its own real pain and fear into imposing nightmare on “the other”;

For Mother Earth, who now without a vigorous defense from the USA is more likely to fall irredeemably into climate disaster;

For the poor, for immigrants, for Muslims, for Blacks and Latinos and the Native Nations, for many women, for many of the sick who will lose their health insurance, for GLBTQ folks, and even for the white blue-collar workers who voted for Trump but will not in fact be redeemed by huge tax cuts for the hyper-wealthy and canceling broader health insurance;

For our children and grandchildren.

And then, organize.

I think we need two things:

A Platform for America that is shaped by progressive/prophetic activists and is lifted up by Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Catherine Cortez Masto, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus. It must include both a celebration of the non-racist, non-misogynist, non-xenophobic elements of white male blue-collar culture and policy proposals that address their needs.

A focus on alternative communities, bubbles of decency and empowerment: How do we support them, how do we expand them?

For example:

1. It’s very likely that Planned Parenthood will quickly be defunded. It will take a little longer, but a right-wing Supreme Court may reverse Roe v. Wade. That will probably leave some states where abortion will still be legal — at least New York and California. How do we create an effective network of health support for women, including abortion? How do we mobilize MDs who now have a moral/ethical stance very different from what most MDs had in 1955?

2. No hope now for a carbon tax or even the Clean Power Plan that Obama tried to institute. We will need to organize neighborhood solar co-ops that will save householders money (though the federal subsidies will probably disappear), reduce CO2 emissions, and provide a democratic base for further struggle. Can we win support from city and some state governments for doing that? Can the environmentalist organizations shift their agendas to focus on that?

3. If/when deportation campaigns begin, can churches, synagogues, mosques, become Houses of Refuge for the undocumented?

4. Major effort to shift money from big banks to credit unions (much better than even neighborhood banks because there is at minimum the possibility of democratic involvement and control). Can existing food co-ops become bases for strong credit unions? Can religious congregations become centers for “free-loan societies,” like those that emerged in immigrant generations?

5. If a right-wing Supreme Court reverses the Constitutional right of same-sex marriage, then prophetic religious communities must join in celebrating that right and making sure those marriages are upheld in our culture and our law.

6. Should we press Obama to issue “Christmas pardons” for tens of thousands of Federal prisoners who have been convicted of nonviolent drug offenses, and bring them into neighborhood support groups?

7. How do we deal with a triumphant right-wing FBI, NSA, CIA, with rejuvenated local-police “red squads”? Will Trump really have his attorney general (Giuliani?) bring charges against Hillary? What do we do then? What if armed “brown shirts” appear?

8. I think it is even clearer than before that it will be valuable to draw on the symbolism and legacy of Martin Luther King as we move into the 50th anniversary of his last year of life and the need to address the “triplets” of racism, militarism, and materialism that he named in his Riverside speech, April 4, 1967, exactly one year before he was killed. The Shalom Center has already begun working on that. More to come.

Comment on this article at The Rag Blog and on the version at The Shalom Center website — and share it with others. And please help The Shalom Center move forward through our heartbreak to purse justice even more vigorously, to heal the deep wounds of our society and our Earth. You can ontribute here.

Read more articles by Rabbi Arthur Waskow on The Rag Blog.

[Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Ph.D., founded (1983) and directs The Shalom Center. In 2014 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award as Human Rights Hero from T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. In 2015 The Forward named him one of the “most inspiring” U.S. Rabbis. He has written 24 books and the pioneering essay, “Jewish Environmental Ethics: Adam and Adamah,” in the Oxford Handbook of Jewish Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2013). Rabbi Waskow has been arrested 23 times in protest actions for peace, racial justice, and healing from the climate crisis.]

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3 Responses to Rabbi Arthur Waskow :
The election: Heartbreak and beyond

  1. Melinda says:

    I suggest that should police be allowed to stop and frisk should you appear “Muslim”, that we form a movement where all women wear headscarves in public.

  2. I experienced that in Texas. Ft Worth po-po were trying to gain entrance to my brother’s apartment while he was at work and said the neighbors (dope dealers) were suspicious of me.

    They also said I looked like Saddam Hussein (I don’t) and the (think: Dumb and Dumberer) stooge-ass henchman said “Yeah, you look like a Sand Nigger”. That was early in the year 2001. Maybe late in 2000. It was winter.

    The good news is, the Trumpista Disciples, especially the Skinheads, are going to find out they’ve been had, that the President does NOT have authority over Immigration, Marriage Rights or any of the other bullshit he promised them.

    But they’re acting just like the SA brownshirts. Which is giving the Left fits because, well, we’re being threatened by the Idiot Squads.

    Looking at it mathematically, neither Trump nor Clinton could have any real support. 30% of the voters for either had voted thus because the Other Side was too repugnant. That takes out almost a third of the vote Just For Those Two Candidates.

    The Selection was too close to call on the popular vote. How close, sayest thou? Consider: The Electors who have NOT yet cast their votes. That happens next month. Some are proposing the radical notion that the 200+ years of The Electoral College, brought about to “balance” the underpopulated Slave states with the Free states. (So the poor little Slaveowners who were slaveowners only because they were too damn lazy to pick their own cotton, would have their “rights” protected) but casting their Elector vote automatically by the point-spread in their jurisdiction, isn’t mandatory.

    And they’re considering the notion of putting Hillary on what is a Lame Duck Throne. Because neither of them would possibly win re-election (says the guy who said the same thing about Bush. Either scenario has a large minority of the populace up in arms against the other. The “arms” part is literal.

    With 30% of less than 100% being protest votes within the Duopoloy, that leaves less than 70% of the vote being cast by radicals on both sides. That’s less than 35% per each because the Popular Vote was so evenly spread by the two parties and the “less than” part comes in because of those who voted for Greens, Libertarians, Communists, Socialists, etc and those who voted for dead people and cartoon animals.
    So whichever party can’t (logically) claim a landslide or a mandate.
    Or even a majority who fervently believe in their respective candidates’ agendae.

    BUT… the same could be said of the last dying days of the Weimar Republik. We rolled the dice and they’re still rolling.

    Messeures et Mesdames, roulons y! I’m not sure of my French spelling. It just looks cool, and that’s all that counts.

  3. I was going to vote for a fictional Space Alien but all the Alien-isch names have already been published in mostly trashy science fiction crap.

    I would be so unhappy if I voted for somebody named Zandorph and find out some cheesy B-Movie had such a character named exactly that.

    I’d probably get sued too.

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