Tuesday, November 8, 2016

An Election Reflection

"Let Freedom Ring"
- Election Day -

Today is “Election Day” in America – perhaps the most important election in which any of us will ever vote. Perhaps this is why I was so dismayed by a post I read this morning on Facebook: “What difference will my little vote make in the larger scheme of things and does it really matter who we elect - nothing ever seems to change?”

While many people will go out and cast a vote in today’s very important presidential election, a surprisingly large number of people won’t bother. Perhaps, like the person who posted on Facebook, many people may look at look at the chaos we read and hear about every day, the problems in the world, problems in the country, and say to themselves, ‘What difference could my one tiny life possibly make in the overall scope of things?”

A while back I remember reading an article by columnist, David Brooks, in the New York Times, in which he made this very thoughtful observation:

Everywhere there are tiny, seemingly inconsequential circumstances,
that, if explored, provide meaning – everyday chances to be generous and kind.
Spiritual and emotional growth happens in microscopic increments.

The big decisions we make turn out to have much less impact on life as a whole
than the myriad of small seemingly insignificant ones.

This observation makes so much sense to me. For one thing, we are all woven together, interconnected with one another in a dynamic web of relationship and so any thing done to one part of this relational web (regardless of how seemingly unimportant) has a rippling effect on everything else.

Every day we make decisions about what to say and how to act, to be kind or to be cruel, and It seems to me that, whatever decisions each of us may make, no matter how seemingly insignificant, are always important. In fact, in the long run those little decisions we make every day may have greater impact than those big events that happen in our lives. 

Each little vote in an important election like today really does count. Each vote may be a little pebble but it has a rippling effect on the common good. 

It also seems to me that the decisions we choose “not” to make also have great significance. I remember something the theologian, Harvey Cox, said many years ago:

Not to decide is to decide.

When I choose not to reach beyond my own ego and retreat into the comfort of my own self complacency, when I ignore the needs of others, when I ignore requests to conserve water in a time of drought, and when I choose to stay home because I can’t be bothered to contribute to the common good by casting a vote in a democratic election, I have in fact made choices;  and the world might have been a different place had I chosen to do otherwise.

This important “Election Day” is a good time for me to reflect on the choices I make every day. Today is a good day to reflect upon the little things I say or do that I take for granted and to remember that every decision I make is an important decision,

It’s time for me to go and vote!

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