We just received these photos from good friends in a former congregation. They just swapped their minivan for a Chevy Volt. Debbie looked at the pic and said, “This is soooooo cool! Those kids are going to grow up with a car they can plug into the wall.” These parents are so blessed to be raising their children in that congregation where a family’s faith is visible in how they live and “living-as-if-the-earth-matters” is part of the religious DNA. On Sunday morning and throughout the week, that church parking lot is full of Volts, Priuses, Leafs and hybrids of all kinds, many of them parked beneath a 28K photovoltaic solar array on one end of the parking lot: a parking lot whose message is “this is the kind of future we believe in here.”
Of course this is nothing new for this church. They also have a sign on the front door welcoming All People, including people of all cultures, faiths, classes and gender orientations. Positive peer pressure can be a good thing. Our values are shaped by the culture we create and the messages we send as parents and trusted community leaders. And our children get it. When we create that culture in a community that shares their experience of some kind of God, it’s also easy to see what kind of God that is and what that Image of God hopes for us and all Creation.
Blogging over the past months, I’ve told the tale of many moments that were the first time we did the most ordinary things in our Net Zero home: first flush, first house guest, first lasagna, first spill and clean-up. This week was our first time to sit in this living room and vote. We vote by mail in Oregon. So we have voted.
I trust it will be no shock to know both of us voted for Hillary Clinton. This election, maybe more than any Presidential election in U.S. history, is about our children and what kind of life and culture we want to immerse them in…what kind of world we want for them and what kind of government will most help us gift them that kind of world.
While my physical therapist was working on my knee the other day, I asked her if she’d voted. She hadn’t yet…said she could never vote for Donald Trump…but Hillary…? She said a friend was saying to her that, you know, Presidents don’t really have that much power anyway so it probably doesn’t matter. I wanted to scream. I said I think it really matters what kind of messages the Leader of our country sends from a very public platform. I said, no matter the outcome of the election, the racism, climate denial, religious prejudice, womanization, violence and ignorance that have flowed from Mr. Trump’s mouth just during this election season has already made our world more dangerous. Last week, in Oregon City, where 2 of my sisters have raised their own children, some students at the high school displayed a sign saying “Go back to the farm N___er!” Seriously? In 2016? And in progressive Portland? Donald Trump is a powerful voice for hate. And his voice gives others, including our children, permission to hate and to say hateful words.
Of course it’s not all about words. And not all about hatred of humanity. For those of us who believe the science that we must keep 80% of fossil fuels that are in the ground, in the ground, in order for the children of Earth to have any semblance of a healthy and peaceful future, we know what’s at stake in this election and the earth values of our President. I support the non-violent, non-cooperation the Standing Rock Sioux and more than 300 tribes are carrying out in North Dakota in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline project. Current and future generations depend on those rivers and aquifer to live. The Dakota Access pipeline jeopardizes the health of water and will affect tribal people and countless communities who live downstream, as the pipeline would cross four states. I have done whatever I can at a distance to stand with them. In the past few days, I and thousands of others have received emails from Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II urging us to join him in signing a petition to President Barack Obama, which says: “Reject the Dakota Access Pipeline and declare this land a cultural district, eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, to ensure its protection.”
I have signed the petition and urge you to do so by going to their page at MoveOn.org. But while you do this, think of what it would be like to send this same petition to a President Trump. Our President has immense political power. And I have to believe President Obama finally denied permitting of the Keystone Pipeline project because, even though that was not his first political inclination, he at least had good conscience enough to listen to the unprecedented public outcry and hear the wisdom of people rising up together around the world and had a change of heart. Donald Trump not only doesn’t have the same conscience, he says he will strip generations of environmental protections in his first 100 days.
I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, but there are enough of us who are undecided or were passionate for Bernie and can’t think of voting for anyone but Jill Stein. But please! We need to get real! Not showing up at the booth is a vote for Trump. Voting for an alternate candidate is a vote of permission for all those who would assault women for sport and assault the planet and everything that is good and right and just because it’s a vote Hillary Clinton will not get.
And this is not just about being anti-Trump. I’ve supported Hillary Clinton from the beginning and the fire to which we can hold her feet as President is the platform which is much more prophetic, Godly and revolutionary because of the courageous fight and irrepressible conscience of Bernie Sanders, including the opportunity to get Bill McKibben on the platform committee. But Bernie isn’t running. In a President Clinton we will create the kind of judiciary that has the possibility of over-turning Citizens United. We will, in good faith, be able to continue the acts of civil disobedience that have moved the conscience of our people in the most troubling of times, because we will have a civil President.
No, of course we can’t guarantee with any level of certainty that any political configuration will create a picture of the future as hopeful and regenerative as the one at the top of this blog. But I think we have received, over the course of this long campaign, a premier viewing of what the picture would be under a President Trump and it isn’t pretty. My prayer today is that you will vote so our children will have a prayer.