Help Us Never to Forget
November 2, 2016
"Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen [sic] and government officials, but the voters of this country."
—Franklin D. Roosevelt
All right voters, it’s election season! We’re down to the remaining candidates, and we are the voters of this country. The question before each of us, perhaps already answered on your early ballot, is How shall I choose? If the power still lies in the hands and the will of people, we must let Love guide us.
I have faith in our system of government, the idea of our nation, and its diverse people. Lately, though, it’s been a tested faith. This campaign season has surprised me in many ways, and has shifted my understanding of who my “neighbors” are. It has exposed some of their values, hopes, and fears. When I sit in my comfortable office on the town green in a quaint New England village and see a pickup truck circling the Common with the Confederate flag waving out the back, I think to myself, “These are the people.”
At the same time, the country has changed within my lifetime in the most extraordinary ways. I am the Black minister of a majority-white congregation—and I can get married to the man of my dream in all 50 states now. These are the people too. We have a president named Barack Hussein Obama! Is this not the final frontier? It strikes me that these are indeed the best of times and, surprisingly, the worst.
This rancorous Presidential election season has exposed the limits of our political and cultural landscape, borders we would rather forget. The limits show up as exceptionalism, a rhetoric of exclusion, and a desire to travel back in time to a land of American myth and legend, presumably to time where people knew their proper place in society.
I hope we choose our elected officials wisely, because much is at stake this time around. In the sanctuary of the voting booth, I hope we choose the power of Love above all else. Whatever the outcome on Tuesday—and the next day—we are one nation; one family whatever our political views.
Spirit of Love help us never to forget: we are your voice, hands, eyes, and ears and heart upon this one precious Earth. Help us to live in peace together and serve one another and to see the holy light in everyone, even when those holy light are especially hard to see. Help us to accept difference and even delight in it, the way that you do. Most of all, no matter how things go, help us to be compassionate during these and other challenging times.