Can I be honest for a moment? I hate election years. There I said it. I hate coming home from work to a mailbox full of paper screaming at me in BOLD TYPE: VOTE YES/VOTE NO. Vote for me; Screw them; Everyone else is evil; I am right, no wait I'm left, but I'm correct and you're wrong. If elected I will save us... from what?
Can I get a "maybe" box on the ballot? Like a "let's try this and if it doesn't work, we'll rethink it. We'll be mature adults and have your best interest at heart." (I'm sorry I meant special interests...) Nope, we throw millions upon millions of dollars at mailers and shady commercials made by an intern to make people think they can and will fix everything. Millions of dollars that could be invested in, I don't know, ANYTHING else. What if two people ran for governor -wait for it- together! (shock, gasp). What if we thought outside of a box with two legitimate parties? In a land that believes in dreaming big, two parties seems really small (and divisive). When we approach life as so right and wrong, black and white, either/or, I begin to wonder if we can just vote all of that down.
As John Avlon of CNN wrote a couple of weeks ago I, too, feel "politically homeless." I don't say this in a "poor me" way. I say it in a, what kind of example are we setting for anyone when all we do is chomp each others' heads off and sit on our hands at our friend's problems and scheme behind their backs at how to demoralize and take them down? I feel like I am watching another person's parents argue violently in public. It's embarrassing and it's not helping anyone.
Trust me, if I lived within four hours of DC, I would be at John Stewart's rally because it would be nice for a change to see a rally with sane people "who have to be home by six because we got a sitter."
I'm ready to walk with people and not point at them. The "at" mentality just keeps digging us down further: We want someone to throw blame at; we want someone to talk at. Even in prayer, we pray at God. We walk at people with confrontation instead of walking with them, we look at people instead of seeing them. We demand at-ness, and we wonder why there are kids hurting themselves - the grown-ups are setting the standards really high. We need people to take the challenge to be with others. To remember what vows and commitments mean, to remember what honor and respect are.
In my own need for self-care and sanity, if a candidate bad mouths the other one, I turn off whatever I am watching or listening to. I didn't even open the fliers I got in the mail from Whitman's and Brown's agenda engines today. When the candidate from the Green Party was arrested yesterday from trying to gain access to an event where the Republican and Democrat candidates were debating and she wasn't allowed because "of the poll strength," I about rolled off my chair. Really? Seriously? This process has gotten so insane it's killing itself.
When will we start working together? I can't work with divisive forces any longer- I am in recovery to try to stop doing that in my own soul, so how is this process anything but unhealthy? This is not a new-agey, touchy, feely, "why can't we just get along?" But really, can any of us? Can any of us grown-ups please try? Even around our dinner tables, just try? Can we see that it is healthy to have different perspectives and try to stay at the table? Can we try to introduce any form of hospitality, civility, and reconciliation into the mix? Can we stop bad mouthing and say what each of us offers, maybe even- compliment the other guy - (another gasp) or is that a sign of weakness? However, isn't constantly gossiping and digging up dirt a sign of insecurity? So how are we doing then when this is now normative?
I thought I read to love enemies, turn the other cheek... I should go back and check. For a nation founded under God, I'm confused what we're under now. I'm following a guy who worked with lepers, outcasts, and the ultimate opposing party the Roman Centurions (the same group that killed him). He ushered women into leadership and had tax collectors at his right hand. The ordinary were the voice and mission and were moved to the extraordinary calling of "walk with me." For now that's all I can do and dream that one day this will be different (and I recycled the brochures).
And I can pray about that change too. Amen.