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Real Patriotism in a Troubled Election

We must have a plan - before, during, and after...

 
There are literally hundreds of compelling public-policy based reasons for voting for Joe Biden and the Democrats in the upcoming election.

But there is one reason that stands out far, far beyond all others:

Donald J. Trump is an existential threat to the survival of American democracy.

And if anyone doubts this statement, they should read a current article in The Economist magazine (hardly a lefist rag) outlining the ways that Trump plans to subvert, disrupt, and dishonor the results of the election.  The polls will be held in extremely challenging circumstances, apart from the behavior of the occupant of the White House.  But Trump’s denial that he lost the popular vote by 2.85 million in 2016 – a horrifying statement for which he should have been impeached on the day he took office – was a chilling portent of what he and his Republican enablers are doing and will do to cause chaos.  Subverting the Post Office, suggesting that people vote twice, inciting violence, lawyering-up to challenge results against his favor, organizing goons to intimidate voters at the in-person polls, generally undermining voters’ faith in the electoral process: he’s setting up the country for extreme turmoil before, during, and after the election.

Sober minds in the Democratic camp are getting concentrated about how to prepare for this coming debacle.  And that’s good news.

But what can you and I do about it?

David Brooks, in the New York Times, tells us that each of us must have a plan.

In line with what he suggests, I would recommend as step number one:

Purchase a big American flag and hang it above the Biden/Harris sign in your front yard.  And purchase another big one, with a pole, ready for you to wave when you hit the streets as a peaceful patriot, demonstrating in support of Constitutional democracy.  Which you will be doing at least once between November 3 and January 20.

Now for some of my dear “musings” readers, it may be necessary for you to hold your nose while buying and waving the American flag.  I get that.  I feel you, believe me.  But sometimes we gotta do stuff that is hard.  And this of all times would be one of them.  Each American flag waved by a Biden/Harris supporter equals at least one American flag that one Trumper can no longer claim as (mostly his) exclusive symbol.  Nothing will get ’em where it hurts more than this.  When we flood the streets to defend the sanctity of our votes – and you betcha, that’s what’s going to happen – we need to completely and utterly out-flag the Trumpers.  We must blind them with red, white, and blue from sea to shining sea.  It’s our flag.  We must out-patriot their hypocrisy once and for all.

When we go to the streets, we must stay on message:  save democracy.  Period.  Let’s demonstrate for other vitally important stuff later.  Without democracy, we can’t stop climate change.  Without democracy, we can’t end racism.  Without democracy, we can’t extend health care to everyone.

We must stay peaceful in word and deed.  It is understandable that left-leaning people are tempted to “gun up” like right-leaning people have been doing for a long time.  But guns are not the answer.  Violence is not the answer.  Disciplined non-violent action is the answer.  Do your homework.  Know who’s who.  Steer clear of Antifa.  Steer clear of extremists of all kinds.

For the identified or virtual Christians among you (and by virtual I mean people for whom love and compassion are the highest virtues), do this:  email me at jtburklo@yahoo.com  and I’ll tell you how to get a CHRISTIANS FOR bumpersticker.  You can paste it above the name of your Democratic candidate’s yard sign.  We’ve got to out-Christian the (happily shrinking) white evangelical Christian base of support for Trump.  Even a small shift in this demographic will have huge consequences in the election.

Talk to your Trump-supporting family and friends and with all delicacy and respect, ask them to join you in support of a free, fair, lawful, non-violent, un-intimidated election. Effectively, of course, that means asking them to turn away from Trump – but on the basis of his attacks on democracy, rather than focusing on other mortally serious policy issues.  With them, trade support for a clean election for support for the legal result of the outdated, absurd, anti-democratic but still Constitutional system by which our presidents are anointed if not really elected.  If we’re real patriots, and Trump wins fair and square (God help us), we’ll honor the Constitutional result, and then throw ourselves full-force into resisting Trump’s second-term agenda.

Mask up and volunteer to work at polling places.  Volunteer to oversee ballot-counting.  Volunteer to monitor polling places and peaceably counter the likely efforts of Trumpers to intimidate voters.

Let’s get busy.

To help energize us for these tasks, I’ve re-written an old gospel hymn — sing freely!

GO DOWN, PEOPLE
Tune: GO DOWN MOSES – words: Jim Burklo

When Trump took over Washington
Let my people vote!
He lied and deceived everyone
Let my people vote!

(chorus:) Go down, people
Way down in Red State land,
Tell old Donald
To let my people vote!

Trump keeps the mail from going through
Let my people vote!
He’ll send his goons to threaten you
Let my people vote! (chorus)

He sent his lackeys through the land
Let my people vote!
To tip the election to his hand
Let my people vote! (chorus)

Turn in your ballot fast this fall
Let my people vote!
Protect the polling places all
Let my people vote! (chorus)

Sign up to work election night
Let my people vote!
Give the count your oversight
Let my people vote!

Go down, people
Way down in Red State land,
Defeat old Donald
Let my people vote!
 
Rev. Jim Burklo, Associate Dean of Religious Life, USC
Website: Musings
Follow on twitter: @jtburklo
See the GUIDE to my articles and books
Associate Dean of Religious Life, University of Southern California

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** ProgressiveChristianity.org Editor’s Note: The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent the official policy of ProgressiveChristianity.org. Any content provided by authors to our website are of their own opinion; we are not becoming a political organization, but we feel unusual times like these times call for a theological response.

 

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