Today is election day. The mid-term elections. Usually a ho-hum time of little interest and less engagement. I sense that in these days of political unrest (some might aver distress), there is greater (greatest?) interest and engagement. Millions of Americans already have voted. Today, millions more, including me.
In my preparation to exercise this precious political franchise of voting, this gracious bequest of generations before me who were denied the right to vote, I thought little about my individual political preferences, little about my individual choices of candidates and various ballot initiatives, verily, little about those with whom I agree. (Though, yes, I, self-defined as a liberal/progressive, have political preferences, choices of candidates and ballot initiatives, and fellow Americans with whom I agree.)
Rather, I have thought and continue to think of and pray for my country, these United States of America and the spirit of my nation, including all those fellow Americans with whom I do not agree.
For I so tire, I soul-tire of the name-calling, the raucous cries from whatever, whichever side, the incessant pointing of vilifying fingers at “those people,” as if the ones pointing their fingers are any less guilty, any less culpable of trafficking in the wholesale blind-labeling of those they oppose with monikers of whatever, whichever disparaging “–ism.”
(I think that it is a pernicious peculiarity of human behavior that whenever we call others by a censorious name, we, in effect and in fact, render those persons unknowable. For once we have diminished others, demonized others to the state of being caricatures, we also have so distanced ourselves from them and from their individual and particular personhoods that we do not and cannot know them.)
And more, far more than tiring, I fear, with all the talk of winning and losing, that we, as a nation, will continue to squander our capacity for the comity of compromise, aye, even more, even deeper our capability for communion.
As a Christian, who seeks to live with love and justice (unconditional, impartial, and active benevolence and fairness) for and with all, always (and ever being ready and prepared to confess my failures), this potential waste is my greatest sorrow.