Like a Prayer
Voting is like a prayer. We do it because we're patriotic and it makes us feel fuzzy inside. I wonder if anyone's listening.
I loved praying as a child. My mom rejected organized religion, yet made it our evening ritual to pray together. Even now as someone who is spiritually agnostic, I find myself praying on occasion. I never seemed to hear the voice of God as my peers had. Neither had my prayers ever seemed directly answered. My prayers just seemed to float above me every night, I had no idea where they went. If anyone was listening or whether they made much of a difference — they at least floated my worries with them. Calmed my mind. Plus it was patriotic. Praying is just what everyone did.
Black Americans have an intimate relationship with spirituality. We sang Negro hymns to ease the pain of bondage. Nationwide movements were formed in church congregations.
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Yet the practice serves us no longer. In fact,
voting prayer seems to be a crutch. Studies have shown that Black Americans score the lowest on internal locus of control. This means that Black Americans are more likely to believe that things that impact their lives are out of their control. This can be explained by numerous factors such as a legacy of trauma and systemic abuse. However, the impact that Christianity has on the psyche of the Black American can’t be missed. As it has a hold on pretty much all Americans.
I often find myself frustrated with the number of relatives I know who aimlessly leave their fates in the hands of God and prayer. Instead of taking major actions on lifelong dreams, they let them wither away like raisins in the sun. Their paralyzing fear of change is brushed off as their dreams just not being in God’s plan. Self-harm in the form of relinquished control to the mystical will of God.
In that respect, religion serves its purpose. Sure, it’s a nice touch that you get warm fuzzies from praying and paying tides. The purpose is, most importantly, to keep the poor majority complacent with their condition. The reality of life is harsh. The tragedies that occur when living in a society makes the human experience even harsher. So we tell the poor to follow the rules, pray and wait for God’s will to improve their lives. The only autonomy you truly have is on your knees, submissive and desperate to take anything the Lord decides to bestow. If you pray enough, he’ll bless you with incremental miracles that make life just a bit more bearable. None of that matters though because eventually, you’ll have paradise in the by and by.
For some time now, the world has been on fire. Plagues culled the working. Young men culled the children. And the world is literally on fire.
So they tell poor people to follow the rules, pay their taxes, vote for the right party, and wait for legislators’ will to improve their lives. Plus — It gives us warm fuzzies!
If we vote enough, they’ll bless us with incremental reforms that seem to make life just a bit more bearable. Even if it feels pointless we have to endure and keep voting, it’s our only form of power. And none of this actually matters. If we vote enough - our suffering will be over soon. We may not live to see it, but perhaps our grandkids will have paradise in the by and by. After all, it’s the only autonomy we’ve got.
Like praying, voting also seems to work in mysterious ways. It’s irreverent to question the will of the legislators, I mean God. I’m not against it either, I wonder if anyone ever listens when I do it.
The wealthy & powerful don’t have to do much of either — they get heaven on Earth. Here and now.
I am not anti-voting
I am not anti-religion
I am tired.