Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Voting Lightly

Today I voted in the New Hampshire presidential primary. I was not looking forward to it. Every other year in my life I have been excited to vote for president. This is especially true of the years I have lived in New Hampshire. Here I get to talk to candidates one-on-one and shake their hands. This time there was no one who inspired me enough for me to travel twenty or thirty minutes to meet them in person.  

I finally settled on a person I could vote for without holding my nose. Now I am waiting to hear the results of the New Hampshire primary, although I suspect I already know the answer to that question. I also suspect I know how the general election will turn out. But I can’t be sure. A lot can happen in the next ten months.  

I am not excited about the choice I will likely face in November. I have no good choice, unless I vote for a third party candidate. I have done that in the pastIn fact I have been a member of two different “third parties” in the last twenty-five years. That is how uncomfortable I am with our two major parties. But that choice comes with its own moral problems. Am I enabling the worst candidate to win?  

The problem with politics is the same problem with all dualistic activities, only made worse by the extremely partisan rhetoric that has become the norm in recent years. Too many people view the world in terms of black and white, red versus blue, us against them. A few politicians see things in shades of grey, but such statesmen and stateswomen are a dying breed.  

I come at it a different way. I see politics from the perspective of spirituality. Not a religious partisanship that equates one’s religion with a particular party or ideological position, i.e., the progressive Christian votes Democrat and conservative Christian votes Republican. I see God transcending this duality.  

I do not see the world in black and whiteNeither do I see it in shades of grey. Certainly not blue versus red! I see this world in shades of light. That light refracts into a marvelous spectrum of color, including both blue and redThe Light of God is overwhelmingly present in all that is. In speaking of the omnipresence of God, the psalmist says: 

Where shall I go from your Spirit? 
    Or where shall I flee from your presence? 
If I ascend to heaven, you are there! 
    If I make my bed in hell, you are there! 
If I take the wings of the morning 
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 
even there your hand shall lead me, 
    and your right hand shall hold me. 
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, 
    and the light about me be night,” 
even the darkness is not dark to you; 
    the night is bright as the day, 
    for darkness is as light with you. 

The Light of God is present in the whole process. Many religious and political people see everything in apocalyptic terms of good and evil, right and wrong, battling it out in the heavens and on earth. I see God working all things together for Good. If that is true, then we can relax into this overarching reality and vote in faith. The concluding words of Max Ehrmann’s “Desiderata” come to mind: 

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him [sic] to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.  

So I vote from peace ... for peace ... to make this a more peaceful and beautiful world.  

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