|What Have We Learned?|
The walloping that the Democratic Party took in the mid-terms shows how weak it is as a voice for our aspirations. While one or two of its leaders invoke our desires some of the time, most of its leaders cannot. Their role is to seek 51%, and that necessity means that they will, in most cases, be uninspiring.
There is no way that someone running for the Senate in Kentucky or Georgia is going to take us to the mountain top and show us the promised land. But if they cannot do it, they cannot win, because people who want change will not turn out for them. Al Sharpton: "You have to turn them on, before you can turn them out." But if they do it, they cannot win, because that is the stage of history we live in.
In Presidential years, we are inspired by a presidential candidate. On the off-years, we are left with Michelle Nunn or Allison Lundergran Grimes.
So who will take us to the mountain top and show the route to the promised land? Who voices the vision without compromise? Who calls out the resistance to change? Who challenges those who vacillate on the sidelines? Who looks beyond the next election?
Kay Hagan almost retained her Senate seat from North Carolina.
|Doesn't Need 51%.|
Strong, progressive religious leaders make the difference. But they are now weak. Theirs is the missing voice. And we are left with the occasionally visionary politicians, comedians like Jon Stewart, and TV commentators instead.
|Cynicism is Obedience|
The mainline clergy are not going to be brave voices for social justice, or reproductive justice, or for global environmental justice. Look at where their laity is.
The laity of the African American denomination will support the demands for social justice and economic change. And African American ministers have often been in the role of moral leadership. But the success of leaders depends on the contributions of "first followers."
Oh, if only there were a denomination where the laity was as progressive as their clergy, a denomination unencumbered by a large and noisy rightwing. A denomination where religious leaders could step out into the society and give voice to the hopes of the people, amplify the stories of their struggles, and be the missing leaders and their first followers.