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Lions Roar : March 2019
Sharice Davids, Antonio Delgado, Ayanna Pressley, and so many others stand on the front edge of this great wave of change. They represent more than demographic diversity; they seal sweeping change— proudly championing their support for universal health care, a radically envisioned educational system, wholesale immigra- tion and criminal justice reform, curbing the influence of money in politics, and the serious environmental policy that’s desper- ately needed to confront climate change. These are precisely the kinds of compre- hensive policy changes we need to address the grave challenges our nation faces. But second, the midterm elections also revealed the magnitude of the forces THE NOVEMBER MIDTERM elections made two things abundantly clear to me. First, change is afoot. Deep change. Desperately needed change. Life-giving change. Real change. Change led by a new generation of national and local lead- ers committed to truly representing the many voices that comprise our collective American life. And it’s thrilling! Newly elected leaders such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, working to stop this wave of change. The movement to preserve government of the privileged, by the privileged and for the privileged is strong, well-funded, and politically determined. In the weeks preceding the election, divisive messages could be heard at every level, including from the president, who painted a refu- gee caravan as an invasion of dangerous killers. Overt voter suppression and racist gerrymandering in district after district revealed a clear desire by these forces to curb the influence of voters of color, a disturbing resurrection of some of our nation’s most shameful electoral history. Taken together, these two stories reveal, to quote W. E. B. Du Bois, “a CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE REV. DR. SERENE JONES is president of Union Theological Seminary in New York and Professor for Religion and Democracy. Her forthcoming book is Call It Grace: Finding Meaning in a Fractured World. GARYWATERS/ALAMYSTOCKPHOTO FROM WHERE I SIT Will We Open the Door or Close It? There’s a powerful force for change in America, says Christian leader SERENE JONES, but powerful forces oppose it. It’s a battle that is as much spiritual as political. LION’S ROAR | MARCH 2019 15