We are meditating these days on the final of the “10 C’s” by which we are naming what it is to be human. We have moved on from Community to Celebration, Ritual and Ceremony.
An election is nothing if it is not an expression of community and where a community wants to move itself. And that is what we have been through for months and years. Now that finally the waiting for counting of votes has borne fruit, people are in the streets dancing and cheering and celebrating for the new team that will lead America.
One does not have to be a Democrat or to have voted for the new leaders to be celebrating. A community celebrates when its structures have been tested but proven workable—at least for the while and until improvements can be put into place. As we said before, community is a verb, and like everything else in the universe it is subject to evolution—and clearly our 244 year-old constitution is showing its age and revealing many creaks and crevices.
It is due for some deep shakeups from the electoral college to the baked-in racism to the disproportion of representation in the senate and therefore in the supreme court and much more. Hopefully that shake-up will come.
But for today there is dancing in the streets. Some of that because people can imagine being part of a government that does not rip children from their parents and lock them up and even lose connection with parents, thus ensuring 545 kids will grow up without their parents; that does not offer an official policy of denial of climate change while seas rise and wildfires storm and hurricanes and floods increase in intensity and number all around us; and the wealthy and their corporations do not receive tax relief which the poor and middle class must make up for; where lies are not honored and an effort at truth telling and justice is encouraged; where racism is addressed directly in its many expressions including but not limited to police malpractice; and where a department of justice represents the whole country’s needs and not that of one person.
All this is about community and explains why people are celebrating with abandon. And a recognition that, for the first time in its history, the country has a woman and a person of color as vice-president. Much to celebrate about indeed.
An election itself is often a kind of ritual and ceremony. As will be the day of inauguration of a new president and vice-president. And the day of announcing new leadership is a day of celebration, spontaneous and authentic especially after days of waiting and concern for millions of Americans and in a time of pandemic.
Even those whose candidates did not win the election can, hopefully, feel part of the rituals of voting that belong to all the in the larger community we call America where hopefully the common good is a thing again.
See Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox, Occupy Spirituality: A Radial Vision for a New Generation, pp. 173-207.
Queries for Contemplation
What elements of community, ceremony, ritual and celebration do you feel going on inside you and around you as a result of the naming of a new president and vice-president?
Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation
Authors Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox encourage us to use our talents in service of compassion and justice and to move beyond our broken systems–economic, political, educational, and religious–discovering a spirituality that not only helps us to get along, but also encourages us to reevaluate our traditions, transforming them and in the process building a more sacred and just world. Incorporating the words of young activist leaders culled from interviews and surveys, the book provides a framework that is deliberately interfaith and speaks to our profound yearning for a life with spiritual purpose and for a better world.
“Occupy Spirituality is a powerful, inspiring, and vital call to embodied awareness and enlightened actions.”
~~ Julia Butterfly Hill, environmental activist and author of The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods