5 ways to make it through the election & still keep your friends
* this post is for the october synchroblog, centered on faith & politics. i wrote a post several years ago that still probably sums things up for me. when it comes to this year’s election, i am left with a feeling that the system is so badly broken that it is discouraging. although i believe passionately in democracy, i am sad how it has often become more about media leverage than about serving people. i’ll keep adding to the link list of other bloggers writing on the same topic at the end of this post as new ones come in.
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a month from today americans will be voting for a new president. some say its voting for the lesser of two evils, that the whole system is so far gone that none of our votes really matter. others don’t believe in government at all & others are passionate about proudly supporting either obama or romney & others are honest about why the words “christian” & president don’t really work.
personally, the relentless negativity and just-plain-craziness that blows through the air this season is hard to endure.
i still do believe our vote matters. i’m personally going to cast my vote for obama for the second time; i like to go to the ballot box at the lutheran church down the street and get my little “i voted” sticker. i don’t outwardly advocate for anyone to vote one way or another because i believe it’s a very personal decision, and my #1 hope is just that people don’t vote for the last candidate they heard speak on “good morning america”(unfortunately, that’s how a lot of this works).
i also think it’s important that we each make our own decision and be brave enough to just say “here’s what i’m doing” without feeling like we need to justify it or explain or worry about what others will think. i realize that is easier said than done in a world that is quick to criticize, mock, and judge one another, no matter which side we’re on.
i thought it might be nice to share a few possibilites for us to make it through the next month a little less weary, a little less inclined to want to hide our friends on facebook or hide our true feelings. i am sure there are many other better suggestions than this, but here are a few ways to maybe make it through the next month & still keep our friends:
1. don’t assume. oh, it is so dangerous! (i just rediscovered that old rant-y post!) i’ll always remember when someone asked jose to come and help promote a sarah palin event without ever once considering that maybe he was voting for obama. it was freaky, the lack of asking the question, the assumption that all-christians-must-be-voting-republican. it can go the other way, too. best is to ask instead of assume.
2. respect each other’s positions with humility. i am not a romney fan but i know some of my friends are. it is easy to judge & mock & say “i can’t believe they support this or that…” but the truth is that everyone is entitled to their own opinions & the best we can give each other is respecting our differences and agreeing to disagree.
3. try not to be rude. seriously, some of the facebook posts are just plain rude about one side or the other. it’s okay to say who we support without completely belittling the other side.
4. judge not lest ye be judged. yeah, i’m always busted on that one. how easy it is for me to judge others who see things differently from me. election year is a great place to practice non-judgement. sure, we see things differently but voting one way or another is not a sin even though it can feel like one. let’s lay down our stones & worry about our own logs.
5. see hearts not votes. all of these are really lessons far beyond voting, but i hope that we see beyond votes & remember each person’s human heart. we don’t have to agree with each other’s politics but it’s awfully unfair to translate that into judgments about hearts. when it’s all said and done, we’re all just people doing the best we can to make it through the day.
bonus #6. take a deep breath and remember–it’s almost over.
so there you go, just a few thoughts today, maybe ways we can keep practicing becoming better human beings this month. i most definitely need some help from God to practice them. what else would you add?
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other bloggers writing on faith & politics this month:
- We The People by Wendy McCaig
- Pulpit Freedom, Public Faith by Carol Kuniholm
- Plumbers and Politicians by Glenn Hager
- Conflating Faith and Politics by Maurice Broaddus
- You Cannot Serve Two Masters by Sonja Andrews
- Would Jesus Vote by Jeremy Myers
- A Kingdom Not Of This World by Jareth Caelum
- I am a Christian and I am a Democrat by Liz Dyer
- Why There’s No Such Thing As The Christian Vote by Marta Layton
- God’s Politics? by Andrew Carmichael
- Faith and the Public Square by Leah Sophia