by Cat Zavis
Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse, the Supreme Court upholds Trump’s Muslim ban, and guts public sector unions; and now, Supreme Court Justice Kennedy has announced his retirement, giving Trump the opportunity to appoint a more extreme rightist to the Court. These are dark times indeed.
Fascist ideas and racist practices are on the rise in our country and as soon as Trump appoints a new Supreme Court justice, many more of our basic freedoms will unravel and be eroded in the name of “limited government” and “judicial restraint.”
So, we must challenge these developments in every non-violent way we can. We must stand up. We must be counted. In the short-term, we must show up at protests and rallies. For example, there are rallies planned around the country this coming Saturday. We at the Network of Spiritual Progressives will be joining with many others to insist that families belong together and to oppose the inhumane ways that the Trump Administration is dealing with people seeking refuge from oppression elsewhere. (Clickhereto find events near you).
Photo from recent immigration rally in Oakland, CA.
We have created flyers and posters you can print and bring to the events. (Clickherefor the flyer andherefor the posters.) Please send us photos (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can share them with others. Knowing there are others joining our efforts uplifts us all. In addition, we need to help get out the vote in November and in many places in the U.S. it would be very valuable to have ordinary citizens going door-to-door and initiating conversations with our neighbors about what is happening to America and why we need to stand up and defend democracy, human rights, and basic human decency at this moment when they are all under attack. We know that doing that can sometimes feel scary and take a lot of energy, but that will be a whole lot less scary than what we will face if the U.S. continues down the path that the ultra-Right wing has been pushing forward in the past years.
And, as I’ve said before, none of this is enough. We must also work even harder to raise consciousness and build a spiritually progressive social change movement that puts forward a vision of the world we want based on a New Bottom Line of love, care, kindness, generosity, social/economic/environmental justice, compassion, and environmental sanity. It’s only when we can transform our own movements’ discourse so that it includes this larger vision of what we are for (and not just what we are against) that we have any chance of changing the political realities in the U.S. These are urgent times indeed and we must respond to the urgency with both immediate actions and long-term solutions.
We are in this for the long-haul and are grateful to be doing this work with you. There are millions and millions of people here and around the world who are horrified about what is happening and who yearn for a more loving and just world. We will get there, my friend. But the journey will take time and a lot of effort on our part.
Sending blessings for strengthened hearts and resilience so we can continue to rise and rise again. I will end by sharing a translation of Psalm 23 that I wrote from a social justice perspective.
A Messianic psalm
(1) YHVH, the Loving Transformative Power of the Universe, is my shepherd – my guardian
I shall not want fear
(2) Its energy causes me to lie down in green pastures, out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing
Guiding me to restful waters
(3) Its compassion renews my soul’s life
Its call for righteousness encircles me and guides me on pathways of justice to what ought to be
For the sake of Transformation
(4) Though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death
I fear no evil for You are with me
Your rod and Your staff – like a grounding stick – they comfort me and give me strength
(5) You spread before me a table in front of my enemies – those I’m bound up with – so we can break bread together
You anoint my head with oil, comforting me
My cup overflows
(6) Let only that which is life giving and loving kindness pursue me
All the days of my life
And I shall dwell in the house of YHVH
for many long years
Cat Zavis, J.D., a lawyer and mediator, is the Executive Director of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, member of the inner editorial board of Tikkun magazine, and a rabbinic student of the Aleph Ordination Program. She leads an online training called: Spiritual Activism: Prophetic Empathy & Radical Love. Please consider joining that training by clicking here. You can reach Cat at email@example.com.