08/15/2012 05:29 pm ET Updated Oct 15, 2012

Religious Progressives Cannot Sit Out This Election

Mitt Romney Palined his campaign by making a desperate Hail Mary political choice to mollify the far right with a fascist running mate, thereby shooting himself in the left foot. Unlike the inspiration for the verb, who has spawned many a satire, the pious, grim Ryan is not nearly as entertaining. I personally have gotten quite a lot of mileage from having seen Russia a couple of years ago from atop the highest (400 ft.) mountain on Vardo Island, Norway.

Progressives are celebrating Romney's choice because it will likely lose Republicans some independent votes. Many think President Obama has the election in the bag and are not working for his reelection because they feel much of what President Obama promised to do, he failed to deliver. But we should not engage in premature gloating or sit out this campaign.

Romney-Ryan abbreviates nicely into Rom-an, which captures their imperial ambitions. It's clear Romney had to galvanize the religious right to make sure they showed up in numbers to vote while his billionaire friends continue to work on suppressing the votes of people of color and poorer folks in swing states. Even if the Rom-an Campaign loses, things could get much worse. Without a different Congress that can pass his plans, Obama will be as stuck as he has been his first term, as he struggles to find ways to help the country recover.

Progressives have nothing like the funds that Citizens United has unleashed from the monied right wing. What we have are people hours, and it's our willingness to work for candidates that is the best protection against a takeover of the country by the 1 percent at every level of our government. The late Molly Ivins once said to me, "In American life, the shit slides downhill and those at the bottom literally drown in it. If we can elect people who can stop even just a little of it from heading down the hill, it literally saves people's lives."

Religious progressives, whatever we might feel about the top of the ticket, need to get involved in our Congressional and Senate races, in our state and municipal races and ballot initiatives, and in making sure every voter gets to vote. If we still hope for universal, single payer health care, free high quality public education through college, living wages and decent jobs, human dignity and rights, and an end to the prison-military-industrial complex, we can take a small step in those directions by working for people who are willing, at least, to keep us from moving further rightward, and, if we succeed, a few more people who can move us toward a better society for all of us.

Of all elections, this one, especially, is not one to sit out. Find a candidate or two or a ballot issue and work your heart out for them. It matters. A lot.