Thursday, October 27, 2016


One Nation, under God, Indivisible..

Like you, I am dismayed by the tone of the present election. That tone has meant that attacks on and defenses of personal character have displaced many of the most important issues facing our country and the world. These include campaign finance reform, with Citizens United looming largest, banking reform, and the usage of public lands. But the largest omission overshadows all the rest, namely the worsening global eco-crisis. Above all is climate change, which permeates all the other issues. This blog has always been dedicated to alerting my fellow global citizens to this overriding danger, and to dialogue about how best to address it. My last post addressed the absence of electoral debate on climate, which at least got some air-time in each of the last two elections. As I noted there, in 2008 the Republicans even had a platform plank arguing for addressing its real and present danger.

Today I want to address not climate, but the climate of the election. Even before the election results, our nation is in deep need of healing the split which threatens to widen into a rift. Some have even warned of “civil war.” As the election frenzy continues to its climax, now less than two weeks away, it is time to initiate a process of forgiveness and healing, a process which will need to continue long afterwards. Hopefully, the election results will be accepted by both sides and we can move forward in response to the immense challenges which face our country and the world. If they are not, then this work will be even more important, and much more difficult.

The election is no longer a single date, but a protracted process. The number of early voters is headed towards record levels. But election day is still the focal point, and the time we vote as neighbors in our neighborhoods. On that day, I want to propose that clergy of all stripes and from all sides in this battle be present at polling places to pray for forgiveness of one another, and for moving forward with compassion for all sides and at least a baseline level of respect for each other. As a Quaker, I strongly believe there is that of God in everyone, and when we truly accept this in one another's presence, it has a mutually positive effect. The closer that acknowledgement comes to being unconditional, the more the possibility of healing, even transformation from neighbor into friend.

I commit to working for this kind of witnessing, non-partisan presence on election day in Yancey County, NC. If we can't have a prayerful presence in every precinct, then at least we can have a group of citizens from both sides in the town square, with appropriate placards. For those signboards I propose the language my wife quoted in a recent Quaker Meeting as she prayed for healing and unity in our nation: One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. If you have a better vehicle, please respond at this site. But we need to do this, and I will be speaking with County Commissioners from both parties (one of the Republicans is a personal friend) as well as pastors in the next couple of days about this leading, so lay out your mind and heart as soon as you can. Please. 

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