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Knock at Midnight: A Call to Action for a Just Multicultural Democracy by Rita Dixon

It is now midnight for our current American Democracy!

I believe that all of us want a democracy that promotes justice for everyone. Justice and truth are closely related. Think about it. There can be no justice without truth, fairness and caring about the welfare of everyone. A Just Democracy is undergirded by the values of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 3:22-23). A Just Democracy seeks the best welfare for allcitizens…every race, culture, class, gender, sexual orientation group …EVERYONE. Such a just multicultural society is hard to achieve but it is a Worthy ideal that all of us must continually strive towards.


In this narrative I am lifting up two major reasons I think American Democracy is in deep, deep trouble…almost on its midnight deathbed. I am making a midnight call to ordinary citizens who are not currently aware and engaged in efforts to save and improve the democracy we have to become active participants. I give a few suggestions for meaningful things we can do that might make a difference. However, we must always remember that God calls us to do the best we can and leave the results to God’s Wisdom. As we do this, we are exercising our faith!


Peaceful Transfer of Power, Lies and Conspiracy Stories


As I write this article, the Trumpian wing of the Republican Party has made it very clear that democratic structures of government do not work for them anymore because such structures are working too well for movements toward an equitable Multicultural American Democracy. These Republican leaders continue to support a January 6 type of violent attempt to prevent the peaceful transfer of power to President Biden, a Democrat, after the 2020 elections. The peaceful transfer of power is a key cornerstone for democracy, therefore the January 6 insurrection poses a major blow to democracy.


The former President Trump claims the election was stolen even though all official election sources of both parties say that the election was fair and just. The former President wanted to stay in power. He prefers a form of government more like a Dictatorship or an Autocracy. He and his supporters are experts at openly and intentionally spreading lies, disinformation and conspiracy stories which keep people confused and unable to recognize true facts. These are major weapons being used in dismantling democracy.


Antisemitism, Racism, Voter Suppression, Election Dismantling


Of course, antisemitism and race are major factors in the Republicans attempt to dismantle democracy. Very soon after Donald Trump was elected President in 2016, a coalition of right-wing militants and well-organized White Supremacist and Anti-Semitic hate groups held a violent demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia chanting “Jews will not replace us.” President Trump refused to denounce the hate groups, tacitly allowing them to come out of their underground status into the light of day and openly express their hate for people of color and Jewish people. Antisemitism and racism are now linked together in what is a current Republican Conspiracy Replacement Theory promoting the idea that Democrats are using people of color and Jews to replace White voters in America.


The Hate Groups were the core leaders in the on-the-ground violent implementation of the January 6, 2021 insurrection. They now seem to have a cozy relationship with the former President and his supporters in Congress, some State elected leaders and some major business leaders who seem to have actively planned and funded the well-organized insurrection.


Where Trumpian Republican leaders are in control in the State government, they are creating laws that make it harder for people of color to vote. They are using every trick possible to increase voter suppression, especially in Black communities, and are putting laws in place that will allow them to change the election results which do not match their expectations. At the same time, they are promoting the belief among their supporters that voting does not work, thus no need for elections in America. This is another way of saying that Democracy does not work. Their primary goal seems to be maintaining power at all cost. Voter suppression and dismantling elections is a deathblow to Democracy.


Why Should More Ordinary Citizen Get Involved

My sense for the urgency for African American engagement is related to the progress and advances suffering African American people, along with others, have made to change American Democracy to be more just. They laid the foundation for the current focus on Justice that we have in America today. They fought for jobs, education, decent housing, equal pay, the right to drink from any water fountain, use any rest room and much more. We enjoy these rights and privileges today without thinking about the price somepeople paid. This democratic system, as flawed as it still is and has been, allows more opportunity for those who are oppressed, marginalized and justice-oriented to make the kind of progress that we can clearly see from our own experiences and/or from our education.


The loss of our Democracy to a Trumpian Authoritarian System of government would reverse much of the progress toward Racial Justice that we have wrestled from it. That is exactly what the Trumpites want to do under the slogan “Make America Great Again” … meaning return to the time when White Supremacy ruled and benefited from Black Oppression. I have been there and I do not want to go back. I believe you don’t either.


Celebrate, Support and Get Involved

I applaud, celebrate and support all of the actions of protest and other forms of resistance that ordinary American citizens and leaders have faithfully engaged in to make this country a better place for all of us. Every privilege we enjoy was fought for by some people. These people include young and old as well as all races, genders, sexual orientations, elected officials and ordinary citizens. They have fought long and hard to make our democracy better serve a multicultural society with equity. I am very grateful for their commitment, courage and faithfulness. All of us owe them our prayers, gratitude and financial support.

However, at this critical time of the midnight hour of Democracy, I believe that more citizen involvement is needed to meet the challenges of saving the Democracy we have and creating a more Just Democracy. Too many of us are too busy and are not paying attention to the daily political events. Many mistakenly think this is not their concern. Those working openly to dismantle democracy are counting on us to think that way as they work openly daily radicalizing people to support them. Therefore, the focus of this call to action is to those who are not engaged but could be, and to those who know that they can do more. God in us can accomplish exceedingly more than we ever dreamed.


Focused Prayer for a Just Multi Cultural Democracy

Establish a daily prayer time of 5 minutes or more. Pray to become more aware of the God-Presence in you and the world. Ask God to give you a motivating vision of a Just Democracy, one that promotes the values mentioned above for all people. Allow your vision to develop over time. See all the competing demands, the differences, the similarities, the difficulties and the joy of discovering that diversity expands your understanding of God, yourself and the world.


Enjoy a growing love of God, self, others and a diverse society. Revel in it, celebrate it and praise God for it. Share your vision and growth with others.

Form a prayer group for support. Ask God for directions on how to give your prayers feet and hands…i.e.to prayfully move to action


Urge The Senate to pass the Voting Rights Bills and Stay Informed on Democracy

Write letters, emails, or call your senator and other senators urging them to pass the John Lewis and the Freedom to Vote bills. They will restore some of the voting rights and election laws that Republicans have taken away. Even if you know that your senators are already supporting the bills, they still need to hear from you, so write or call anyway. Thank them for their work on behalf of Democracy. We need to stay in the practice of contacting our elected officials. We can make it a weekly, monthly or just a regular practice. I suggest that we contact a Senator at least once a week until the Senate voting rights bills passes. At least two people are currently in the news for being on a hunger strike since November until the bills pass.


The 2022 elections are critical to the fate of Democracy. Senator Warnock says our vote is a kind of prayer…i.e., we are putting our prayers in action through the act of voting. Vote for candidates with a track record of supporting Democracy. Become an advocate for a just democracy with your Church, your friends, and other networks. As more of us move from inertia, inactions, helplessness, too busy and not knowing what to do, we become empowered, active participants in making the world a better place.


Start Preparing Now for the 2022 Elections

The 2022 elections are critical to the fate of Democracy at the local, state and national levels of our government. Begin learning about the candidates, as soon as they appear to be running for office. Identify at least 3 people who probably are not interested in voting and begin helping them to see why they should vote. Always reach out to those who may not be paying attention to the events and help them get involved because some of us have personal challenges that demand all of our attention and we can’t keep up with political news.

I believe most people want a society that values truth, justice, love and compassion. Our vote must always reflect our values. Senator Warnock says our vote is a kind of prayer…we are putting our prayers in action through the act of voting. I realize that it is often difficult to discern between competing values. Therefore, we must be wise and vigilant. If a candidate is running on a Pro-Life platform make sure that the candidate is for saving life after birth through proactive measures to save lives from poverty and the dangers of poverty. It is hard for me to believe that a person is Pro-Life if that person votes against legislature that seeks to feed and provide shelter for children and families in need, lower drug prices for the elderly, vote against mandates for health measures to protect lives during life-threatening pandemics and/or promote gun control laws that protect and preserve lives from individual and mass killings. We must vote for candidates who best support a Just Democracy, someone with a demonstrated record of fairness and support for the diversity of America.


When our values are not represented by the candidates who are running, we can either run for the office or encourage someone we can support to run.


Finally, I highly recommend that the reader view the more than excellent video of Senator Raphael Warnock speaking before the Senate on November 2, 2021 at www.youtube.com. The title of the 21-minute video is: Nothing is more important than Voting Rights: Warnock calls on the GOP to support legislature. Please do look at the longer version, rather than some of the shorter versions, for a fuller understanding of the issues. The link to this video is https://youtu.be/Y17G1vHwBTU. Share it with family, friends, clubs, church groups and other networks. It is an excellent presentation on the midnight threat to Democracy.

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