The Religion of Political Affiliation

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While listening to a radio segment, a journalist said repeatedly,

“They’re Republican,”

And a couple of times,

“They’re Democratic.”

Each time, she was speaking in the plural about more than one person. Why not, “They’re Republicans” or “They’re Democrats”?

Then I realized the phrasing of her language mirrors that of religion. Like,

“They’re Lutheran,”
or
“They’re Catholic.”
,
And I thought that was very telling.

For some, these political affiliations are creating a world of meaning and a sense of belonging, along with how we see reality itself, the world, and our place or it. For some, these affiliations are becoming the place of ultimacy and the primary place of identity.

Renee Roederer

Revolutionary Love

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Image Description: A tree in the foreground has a yellow graffiti heart marked upon it. A tree in the background is reflected in the water. There is also a green hill in the background. Photo, Renee Roederer

A quote from Valerie Kaur:

“’Love’ is more than a feeling. Love is a form of sweet labor: fierce, bloody, imperfect, and life-giving—a choice we make over and over again. If love is sweet labor, love can be taught, modeled, and practiced. This labor engages all our emotions. Joy is the gift of love. Grief is the price of love. Anger protects that which is loved. And when we think we have reached our limit, wonder is the act that returns us to love.

“’Revolutionary love’ is the choice to enter into wonder and labor for others, for our opponents, and for ourselves in order to transform the world around us. It is not a formal code or prescription but an orientation to life that is personal and political and rooted in joy. Loving only ourselves is escapism; loving only our opponents is self-loathing; loving only others is ineffective. All three practices together make love revolutionary, and revolutionary love can only be practiced in community.

“Revolutions do not happen only in grand moments in public view but also in small pockets of people coming together to inhabit a new way of being. We birth the beloved community by becoming the beloved community. . . . When a critical mass of people practice together, in community and as part of movements for justice, I believe we can begin to create the world we want, here and now.”

–Valerie Kaur, See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love (One World: 2020), xv–xvi, xvii.

Small, Indoor Gatherings Are Fueling COVID-19 Spread

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Image Description: People clink their glasses together at a dinner party. Also, these people in a stock photo are not spreading COVID-19. Because they’re a stock photo. 🙂 Public domain.

I would like to pass along this article from The Washington Post:
At dinner parties and game nights casual American life is fueling the coronavirus surge as daily cases exceed 150,000.

Yesterday, 163,405 people were newly diagnosed with COVID-19 in a single day. That’s a 73% increase from the daily cases average two weeks ago.

Yesterday, 1,171 loved ones died from COVID-19 in a single day. That’s a 33% increase from the daily loss of life average two weeks ago.*

Hospitals are pushed beyond capacity. This is difficult for COVID-19 patients, of course, but it also ends up impacting people with other health emergencies. And it delays necessary surgeries that people need.

When we meet and gather indoors (a task that is understandably desired) it is dangerous because these kinds of gatherings are fueling this spread. It’s difficult to sacrifice this, especially as it stretches on, but we need to keep making wise choices.

This is difficult to grapple with, but it’s not overdramatic. It’s true:

Sometimes people connected to us end up dying — people who weren’t even at the dinner party.Sometimes people connected to us end up experiencing long-term disability (a higher percentage than people who die) — people who weren’t even at the game night.

This is tough, but we are in a tough collective situation. It requires tough individual actions.

ur collective mental health is waning too, which is no small thing. How can we support ourselves and each other and making these necessary choices, but also feeling connected?

We’ll have to be creative in choosing what is much less risky.

But first we have to believe this:
What we’re doing is risky.

Renee Roederer

*My numbers come from the New York Times daily COVID-19 accounting:
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html

Rooted

Image Description: Brown leaves from oak trees that have fallen on an asphalt pathway.
Photo, Renee Roederer

I looked up and watched several leaves float down from the sky. They were falling in real time from very tall trees.

“They’ve never been untethered before,” I thought with some sadness, because for some reason, I tend to anthropomorphize things. I watched them fall to the ground.

I kept walking and pondered how intertwined root systems existed underneath my feet, unseen as I walked along this pathway with trees on either side.

Sometimes, we’re more connected than we think we are.

Renee Roederer

I Had To Run Away From Bats

Image Description: A sunset with hues of orange, pink, and deep purple amidst trees.
Photo, Renee Roederer.

I was finishing up my daily walk as the sun was setting, and I snapped some beautiful photos with deep purple in the sky. Ahhh… So nice.

And I saw a bat. Ooh, cool!

Then another. Then more. Then lots.

And I ended up running out of the woods (and laughing at myself running) because too many bats were flying near me. It was a funny scene. I screamed once. I chuckled. But mostly, my heart was racing.

They kept swooping down near me for bugs. Don’t do that!

Once I got out of the woods, I also laughed imagining the scenario that I’ve been this cautious about COVID only to get rabies.

“Renee was the most disciplined person we knew about not getting COVID, but sadly, she got rabies, refused water, and died.”

Thankfully, I hightailed it out of there.

Image Description: A sunset with hues of orange, pink, and deep purple amidst trees.
This image contains NO BATS. THEY’RE NOT ALLOWED.
Photo, Renee Roederer.

Renee Roederer

Values

Values Can Be a Conduit to Recovery | Psychology Today Ireland
Image Description: Names of values placed together, some written horizontally, and some written vertically. Public Domain image.

Our values should determine how we hold our elected leaders accountable — all leaders, every party —

how we speak out,
what we say and do,
how we say yes and no,
what we support and challenge,

instead of our values constantly shifting and morphing,

instead of what-we-will-tolerate constantly shifting and morphing,

to fit, support, and justify that we voted for someone or a party.

We can hold them all accountable — publicly.

We should.

Our values determine how we do that. These people and parties don’t get to determine our values.

Renee Roederer