Well, the big day is here. With Election Day 2016 comes the end of a cycle that I think began some time in the Jurassic period…
Anyway, that’s not the point. I want to talk about a friend of mine today.
Joe and I have known each other for a very long time. We grew up together at Foothills Christian Church, going to Chi-Rho Camp and CYF Conference. We’ve stayed in pretty good touch throughout the years, every so often we find our ways to Las Vegas for a weekend of tomfoolery, and he has remained one of my best friends. He has never failed to be there for me when I was going through tough times in life, and indeed, he ponied up the cash to fly from Phoenix to North Carolina to be a groomsman in Caitie and my wedding. I know that I can count on him if I need a friend.
Later today, he and I will each go into our polling places – him in Phoenix, me in Lexington – and he will vote for Donald Trump, whereas I will vote for Hillary Clinton.
And you know what? That’s okay.
We each have our reasons why we’re voting for our candidates of choice, and why we’re not voting for the other. We’ve had some amount of argument about it, but at no point has it ever gotten out of hand, and at no point have I ever felt that our friendship was threatened by this election.
Now, granted, I realize that we’ve been friends since the early ’90s, but why on earth has so much of this country gone so sour over this election? This is the 57th time we’ve elected a President. There have been far more rancorous campaigns than this one (don’t believe me? Go look up Adams v. Jefferson, 1800). There have been elections that were far more likely to fracture the country (Lincoln v. Douglas, 1860), and which DID. The United States of America will still be here tomorrow, but it has turned into a really nasty place.
So, y’all, not to hold myself and my friends up too highly, but you need to take a page from our book. Recognize that your political opinions are not more important than years, decades, even centuries of shared history. We are a better country when we work together in spite of our differences. If you want to make America great, you must first be good. And to do that, we need to be kind to one another.
In closing, I would recommend two verses from the Gospel of Luke as a guide for today:
Luke 6:27b-28 – “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”
Luke 10:27 – “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
Let’s make America kind again.