By Rev. Carol Bodeau
As I write this, is it November 5, two days after the completion of voting in the 2020 Presidential election. But, as we all know, the final counts on that election will still be many days in the completing, and the legal process to decide the final result may take weeks. So there is a lot of uncertainty, and unrest, and mixed emotion to be dealt with this week.
One thing is very clear, and very certain, though: America is a nation profoundly divided right now. And it’s the kind of division in which people on all sides are saying, “I just cannot possibly imagine how anyone could vote the other way!” Family members threatening to disown family members; close friends saying they’ll never speak to one another again; shock, incredulity and loss when we discover that someone we thought was ‘like us’ is in a very different place than we are right now.
How in the world can we respond in a way that mirrors our values—all of our values, including the First Principle of Unitarian Universalism, by which we affirm the inherent worth and dignity of all peoples, including those with whom we disagree? This is not an easy task when there is such a collective climate of anger, fear, and threat. It is not easy when there is a collective agreement that a lot hangs in the balance right now, even the very future of our nation. And it’s made even more difficult by a worsening pandemic.
And yet, we do have the capacity, as Unitarian Universalists, to face this time with courage and conviction. And we do have the capacity to speak our truths with respect and clarity, holding strong boundaries around our values while refraining from aggression in thought, word, and deed.
I believe we have this in us, and I believe it’s essential.