Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Civic duty

     Today is Primary Election day in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  I did my civic duty this early afternoon and voted.  I think that I heard them say that I was the thirty-ninth citizen of my party to vote at that polling place today. 

     We live in a great republic that cherishes rights and privileges to be a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people".  The most important of our rights and privileges is to cast our ballots - to vote.  Yet our response is usually abysmal.  For a variety of reasons we choose to be otherwise occupied on election day.  Why?

     On a very personal level I find politics to be not what it should be.  The negativity, the nastiness, the "spin" placed upon candidates, parties, issues and public perception grows worse each year.  The amount of time, effort, and most of all monies used to "win us over" are obscene.  And for what?  So that we can vote for a candidate or a party that promises the world but cannot deliver unless all involved work together ... which they are rarely willing to do.  The idea of the "common good" outweighing all other considerations is considered unrealistic, absurd.  Politics  stands in the way of governing, and nastiness and self serving greed is the hallmark of those involved in politics.  No wonder people do not vote!

     And yet, I did my civic duty, praying that those who I voted for accept the challenge to build a stronger and better world - not a stronger and bigger war chest, or party, or interests, or allies or whatever - but a better world.  And to do so not with eyes focused on self but rather on others.  Am I convinced that this will happen, even if my candidates get in?  Honestly, most likely, no.  But in my voting I exercise a right given my by those who established this form of government and most especially a right defended by countless men and women over the years, often with their very lives.  In addition, I consider it to be a part of my duty as a follower of Christ to try to make this work.  Sometimes I feel like Don Quixote, dreaming the impossible dream.  But who knows ... someday that dream may become a reality in our lifetime.

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