Have you seen it? No, not the snow, winter whatev. No, not the first nest of murder hornets found, 2020 whatev. No, not all the scary movies that lead up to Halloween in the last week of October on every single channel, except Hallmark, I’m eating all the candy myself this year, whatev. But have you seen the FB post that says, “I just need to see a few more campaign ads and then I think I’ll be ready to make my final decision. . . said NO ONE EVER!!!” Do you sit and think about how much money all of those ads cost and what could be done with it that would be positive in the world?!? Beyond the fact that they are annoying, the numbers of dollars spent are astronomical. I was not a political science major, and have no concept of how campaigns work and I know there is indeed, a “science” behind it and I do believe in science. But in my ignorance is bliss moments, I wonder if someone might be more apt to get elected if they made a public statement that they are taking at least 50%, I guess 10% would be more biblical, of their donations for re-election and giving it to Habitat for Humanity and/or vetted Food Ministries and/or Heifer Project International for cows and goats and chickens that give an infrastructure for feeding villages beyond one lifetime. It seems to me that would be something that might move us beyond separation and division and rights and wrongs. But then again, that’s in my ignorance is bliss moments.
Speaking of which, is it? Blissful to be ignorant? I’m guessing if you ask folks who don’t have access to quality education around the world they might differ. We don’t have to travel too far to remember now Nobel Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai, shot by the Taliban on Oct. 9, 2012 at 15 years old for speaking up for the right of girls to be educated. In a speech to the U.N. exactly one year after the shooting she says, “one child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” When I remember all of that, I know how spoiled I am. Those moments I decide I don’t really need to learn anything more than what the campaign ads are telling me about different candidates – the ones that fit my thinking I assume are right and the ones that disagree with my thinking I assume are wrong. Why should we do any further searching really. Staying in ignorant bliss seems way easier and less time-consuming. I wonder what our lack of patience or openness to deeper information looks like to someone who has been shot for risking advocacy for education. But Pakistan isn’t the United States, so . . . there aren’t unjust school shootings here? Hmmmmm. Interestingly when Malala was told that the longer the time she spent away from Pakistan, the danger for her was still there, but the longer she stayed away from Pakistan the less likely she would be accepted back. Her response? “I have little time for distinctions between east and west, education is education. If you become a Dr. do you have a western stethoscope or an eastern stethoscope, a western thermometer or an eastern thermometer; or is the desire to heal one that is universal?”
Is the desire to heal our divisions universal for us? I’m wondering that less than a week before our elections. In the extreme there are those telling us to arm ourselves for another civil war. Reeeeeally? No, I mean REEEEEEEEEALLY? Is that where we are? In the less extreme we are told to prepare for chaos and not knowing, maybe until the first of the year the complete results of the election and that it’s likely to go to the Supreme Court to decide.
I choose to remain hopeful. I choose to believe in the history of our Republic that the safe and peaceful transition of power regardless of who wins is a value on which we all agree across political and social divisions. That the right to advocate for education for all genders and races and classes does not threaten our lives because freedom of speech connects us beyond the specifics of the rhetoric, even of negative campaign ads that we only have to witness one. more. week.
I voted in-person a week ago Tuesday. Masks, social distancing, sanitizing voting stations between each voter, only allowing so many people in the room at the same time and the line moving in a consistent manner that no one was in the same space for more than 10-15 minutes, the standard for safe limits for group gatherings. In other words I felt safe – from the exposure to virus, from possible threats or voter intimidation, from my right as a voter who happens to be a woman placing an emphasis on education being negated in any way. My prayer and hope is that everyone has that same experience of “safety” in this Republic that places a high value on freedom and peace for our brothers and sisters as we do for ourselves.
We have a few more days of campaign ads, billions of dollars circling the drain in my humble non-political science-y perspective, and my cynical perspective that NO ONE is telling the complete truth about the critiques and insults said about their opponent only grows. The way through that cynicism? Today I’m donating a bit of money to Habitat for Humanity, Heifer Project, and the food ministry at Center of Grace – maybe you want to join me? It’s not a whole lot, not an inkling of an iota of the amount of a few seconds of campaign ads., but the amount isn’t the deal – the positive spirit that it re-ignites in me for the world is of far greater value. And that’s a spirit I will seek to live far beyond any singular election because God is always greater . . . always!