Don’t Be Tricked!

I am writing this on Indigenous Peoples Day. It is still known to many as Columbus Day, despite all the reasons I gave in my sermon yesterday why he is not a hero we should be celebrating.


And on this day, we are in the midst of brutal political struggles that are about, for example, putting a large number of federal judges in place to unduly control the path of the country into the future rather than to represent our actual society as it confronts the issues and choices of our age in the context of our evolution and history. We are in the countdown to midterm elections that, in significant part, will determine whether the party that currently controls all three branches of our government will continue to have the same degree of control that it does now. And for people on both sides of that divide, this is an important matter.


On particular votes or programs, any group of Unitarian Universalists is likely to contain different opinions. Most of us are not single issue voters. We may sometimes hold our nose when we cast our votes, knowing that part of the platform of our candidate is against our values, while another part may be what we believe our country needs now. We may disagree on candidates and parties and policies and programs without disagreeing on the values that led us to our political conclusion.


But it is also true that many Americans have the political positions they do because of propaganda and lies and a purposeful miscasting of the nature of the conflict. Among those, we have the President himself casting white heterosexual men as “real victims,” at significant risk of false accusations by women, for example, when nothing could be farther than the truth. In the American political arena, it has become quite normal for people with privilege to tell the lie that they are victims so forcefully and frequently that many people uncritically accept it as true.


White people. Men. Christians. Evangelical Christians. Heterosexuals. Cisgender people. The wealthy… There is nothing wrong with any of these identities. And only the issue of extreme wealth has any ethical implications to sort through. But these identities receive relative privilege. And yet the media are full of the lie that the wealthy need tax breaks, that Christians are persecuted, that men are at constant risk of false accusation… These lies are told to convince people to vote against both their values and their interests.


October begins with the choice between Columbus and Indigenous peoples. It ends with a choice between tricks and treats. Use this month to learn what you can about candidates for office, compare those candidates to your human and Unitarian Universalist values, and affirm and promote the right of conscience and the use of democratic process in our communal decision-making process. Don’t be tricked! Vote! Election day is Tuesday, November 6.


Peace and Blessings,
Rev. Paul