It’s been one week since the election and the protests continue. At some point, those who are upset and angry will need to get involved in the entire political process to effect change by encouraging those men and women who can best motivate and inspire to run for public office. Those who are pleased with the results also need to become more involved and not gloat. They need to admit that the president elect is very disagreeable and divisive in the way he speaks. The simple fact is that many chose NOT to vote, a travesty when you consider all the rights and freedoms we have and aparently are taking for granted.
Now is the time to read a variety of news sources to get the necessary information needed to make political choices. Too many of us are totally influenced by one dominant news source with its own ideology. We need to LISTEN to other voices and other perspectives and refrain from labeling those who disagree as being narrow, uncaring, racist, etc. Positions can be labeled but not the people who hold them. It just doesn’t help. Words can be just as violent as actions. As far as I can tell, Jesus, himself, only used negative names at those who were self righteous and self certaint: hypocrite, brood of vipors, blind guides. And Jesus chose not to join the Zealots in their desire to resort to violence to enact change; he resolutely condemned such violence by forgiving those who perpetuated the violence. Violence breeds violence…
Finally, we need to be active in the political process now and always, not just a few weeks before the Presidential election. Who is your Representative, senator, alderman, not to mention, Vice President, Secretary of State and other important elected and appointed members of our government? Get to know your local political officials and speak to them one on one, making your concerns be known. A huge number of Americans have no clue as to how our government works, nor who is doing the governing.
My own position in this situation is to try and unify, inspire and challenge, all at the same time. As a pastor, I have the confidence of so many people and their political and theological persuasions. I want to honor and love ALL, no matter their positions, knowing that there might be…will be…serious disagreements. I choose to associate, as much as possible, with a variety of people representing different perspectives politically and theologically. These people share one common reality: they, we, are all created by God and loved by God. Marriages and families CAN bring together different ways of seeing the world and God, building bridges of understanding within the disagreements.
We have to learn how to live with each other and not build walls around around those who we don’t like or those who believe and vote differently from us. When we create walls of ideology, we, too, are walled in. Listening, reading, petitioning, protesting, engaging, reevaluating…getting envolved…are all what is needed right now and always. And the foundation of everything is PRAYER, which empowers us to respond thoughtfully and respectively, not simply reacting emotionally. Responding rather than reacting is what is so needed on all sides.
Peace. Fr. Frank