Rabbi Adam Chalom, Rabbi for Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation, and the North American Dean at the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, recently posted an essay called “I do not have the words.”
Every nation has laws, but laws do not guarantee justice. Slavery, the Nuremberg Laws, Jim Crow segregation, voter disenfranchisement – all were both legal and unjust. The Insurrection Act of 1807 and later additions legally allow the President of the United States to deploy armed forces domestically; it was used to enforce equal protection during Reconstruction and desegregation, but we greatly fear its use today to suppress our rights.
Therefore, our words and deeds are needed to tip the scale towards justice. We must use our voices and votes and values to be who we say we are. Speak, write, protest, donate, organize, advocate; anything other than asking our way out of this moment.
During the Trump administration, there were times I’ve felt overwhelmed, and other members of my family have said the same. That was before COVID-19, and Trump testing the limits of martial law in the United States. But like Adam writes, we may not have the words, but no one else is going to save us. We are the ones who have to save ourselves. So I’ll do what little bit I can to stand up to this rise of authoritarianism around the world, and in the United States. Even if it just involves tweaking the nose of a Mayor who would be king. 🙂
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