03 Nov The Election is Almost Here
Finally, it’s nearly here. Which means it’s nearly over. I have been ready for this election to be over for months already, and I know I am not alone. For one thing, I am hoping my phone will stop ringing so much. My phone number is registered on the “Do Not Call” list, but it is impossible to tell that to a robo-caller. May I make a brief commercial announcement here to all solicitations of any type? I DO NOT TALK TO COMPUTERS OVER THE PHONE. The robo-call is clearly one of the evil inventions of modern times. On the other hand, Caller ID is a life-saver.
But, I digress. Our democracy is a precious gift, and I am grateful to our nation’s founders for taking the risky, bold move of “experimenting” with a new concept of self-government. This has been a disheartening campaign in many respects, and I am tired of the negativity. But, I am also tired of the hand-wringing and “woe is us” talk, as if we need smelling salts to calm our jangled, fragile nerves. Perhaps we need to remind ourselves that the history of our American democracy is full of mud-slinging, duels, name-calling and civil war. That is not an excuse for the spectacle that is currently playing out all day and night in 24-hour news loops. It is simply a reminder that we have overcome a lot, and we can overcome again.
Cynicism in our political process has been rampant in recent years, but haven’t we brought much of that on ourselves? We accuse politicians of not telling the truth—but we don’t want to hear the truth, so what are they supposed to say? The truth is that there are no easy fixes, that the solutions to our nation’s problems will be painful and hard and will require strength of character and will. The truth is that everyone will have to “give a little.” Compromise is not the “dirty word” some have made it out to be. Rather, compromise is built into the very fabric of democracy. It is, of course, much easier to compromise with friends instead of enemies, which is why mutual respect is essential. Respect is a core value we desperately need to recover.
Anger has been on display this year as well. Anger is a useful tool in that it alerts us to pay attention to something, and there are certainly some issues that need our attention. Perhaps there are times when we have become so tone-deaf to the plight of those who are falling through the cracks and being left behind that anger is necessary to break through our self-imposed bubble. But, I fear that we are also simply becoming an angrier, ruder society. Impatience boils over into snarky comments to the waitress. Drivers imperil the lives of others to save a minute and a half. Watching unfiltered brats on reality TV warps our sense of what a healthy, caring family life looks like. We have become de-sensitized by the repetition of bad behavior that is labeled “entertainment.”
Come Tuesday, November 8, friend, go vote. Exercise your privilege and responsibility to have a voice in our democracy. And then, regardless of the outcome, will you begin to work for a more whole and peaceful society? It really does begin with us—not the politicians.
Yours for the Kingdom,