Tuesday, November 08, 2016

There Are More Important Things

This is a very unique election day - mostly because I'm running for President. I am on the ballot in Colorado and available as a write-in candidate in a dozen or so other states. I did this partly as a joke (outlined here), but largely because we take this whole process way too seriously and I thought this "campaign" might highlight that. I made silly videos and t-shirts and I'm really getting votes in more than a handful of states.

More than that, though, I seem to be a safe place for people who don't want to vote for a candidate they dislike, people who don't want to hold their nose and vote just to vote. I enjoy providing that option, but there's a larger message, too. People feel really obligated to vote. We've got people out there encouraging others to vote with words like "its the most important thing you can do today," or "its the responsible thing to do," or even "it's your civic duty." I get those are all in line with the public narrative of an election, but I don't think they're true.

The most important thing you can do today is love your neighbor, or, even better, love your enemy. The way we treat the people we interact with everyday has far more importance and a longer-lasting impact than any vote we could ever cast. Our government was specifically set up for the President to have as little real power as possible. Even in this day and age where the executive branch has more power than ever before, it's not much. Yes, a President can make life a little easier or a little more difficult for people - and voting for one or the other certainly makes sense.

Please, don't take it so seriously. I mean it. This is not the end of the world. In fact, the end of the world may only come when people put their faith in countries and governments to mediate our daily lives. The big lie of history is that power equals security; we are safe when we're in charge. It sure sounds and feels that way when you're scared, but the drive for power just leads to paranoia and the fear you don't have enough.

We live in a world with plenty. Everyone is valuable and there is enough to go around. I've dedicated my life to living into this truth and acting in ways that communicate it to other people. Fear and power and coercion are no way to live. There is always another option. Always. That's why I've tried to create on on the ballot, and I hope to always be a voice for another way in life and in my relationships with friends and neighbors.

Our culture drives us to imbue everything with as much meaning as possible. It's only true if you're trying to win ratings. The most important choices you make are usually the most ordinary. Do you let that guy merge in traffic? Do you bake cookies for the noisy neighbors rather than calling the cops? Do you spend an extra half hour in the midst of a busy day reading to a child or talking to your spouse?

Nothing that happens at the ballot box or in Washington DC could ever rival any of those choices. Even if your worst electoral fears are realized, those everyday decisions will still be more important.

I'm not saying "don't vote." People worked long and hard, sacrificed and sometimes died to provide the privilege. Most people in the world get no say in how their country works. We should use that opportunity as much as it seems valuable to us. But we shouldn't feel obligated. I left more than half the lines on my ballot blank today; there just weren't candidates I was comfortable voting for and there are more important things in this world.

I'm headed to Election Day Communion tonight at 6:30, where we'll gather around the table of God, a place where equality and abundance are joyfully proclaimed for all people, and I'll be reminded, both with words and actions, that there are indeed far more important things in the world.

No one will care about this election in 100 years (do you even know what party James Garfield represented?), what will matter is the kind of community we fostered with our lives and our love. I don't want elections and governments and nations to define that world. I believe there are much more important things.

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