Wrapping up 2020 will be wholly unlike any end of year narrative that we have had in quite some time. We are ending a decade, fighting a virus, fighting with each other, watching the planet change in devastating ways, and trying to keep some semblance of what has been deemed ‘normal’ for a very long time. We enter into a season of harvest, where gratitude and generosity have traditionally been a comfort to the souls of so many. This year, we also have a momentous change in front of us with the upcoming election. As we come into this season of voting, and in an effort to change the conversation from one of “politics as contact sport” to “politics as contract between neighbors”, here are some thoughts and questions to consider as you move to the polls.
What’s really up for election this year? Is it freedom? Prosperity? Control? If freedom, whose freedom? If prosperity, whose prosperity? If control, control of whom, and by whom? There are many ways to answer these questions that forsake the habit of critical thought. Those who are too weary or too distracted to see a wicked problem and address it with integrity also have a propensity for offering a short, off the cuff, ill-articulated answer. “My freedom”, “My prosperity”, and “My control” seem to be the answers that so many are choosing this year. Without little regard for what that really means, when implemented and executed.
Should the clarion call to be to vote in a manner that feeds the foundational energetic concepts of these UNITED States, so that we vote in the spirit of “Our freedom”, “Our prosperity”, and “Our control” of the lives that are intertwined and interdependent?
We approach the harvest season, whereby our ancestors gathered the product of their hard work, their dedication to the land, and in preservation of the idea of a hopeful future. We also approach the season of giving, where our ancestors practiced the art of giving without hope of receiving, because giving is an act of love, an act of honor, an act of integrity. When we give, we receive.
What’s at stake this election is immense. Oppression, bigotry, destruction, and hate are rising unabated. What would happen if we cast our votes in the name of collaboration, acceptance, creation, and love instead? What would happen if we chose to be true to the spirit of the season, true to the spirit of freedom, justice, and prosperity?
When you strike that vote, what will your candidate do after they win their race? Will they build bridges for you and your community? Will they disappear into the halls, offices, and conference halls where only one viewpoint is heard? Or will they open their doors and their town halls to you, hear your concerns, help your neighbors, friends and families?
As easy as it would be to cast a vote without thinking critically of the aftermath, let’s all think without the madding crowd of opinion and agenda-driven conversations. Think about your neighbors. Think about your children. Think about the future of this country. But also think about neighbors and children you don’t know, who also deserve a life of freedom, justice, and prosperity. It sounds good to say “I voted straight party line” but it’s not a critically thought vote if you didn’t look at the candidate and know who you were truly selecting to be governed by.
The ideas that liberals, progressives, and centrist democrats carry with them into the polls must be robust enough to meet the challenge after the election. We must be committed to creating space for all – but fighting with integrity every action that harms or minimizes people we care about. We must be prepared in this way no matter which way the election goes.
Let’s vote with a good heart, a heart full of gratitude, not fear. A heart full of generosity, not selfishness. Let’s commit our hands to creating an equitable reality that silences the voices of oppression, bigotry, and hate and removes the destruction from our communities.