Well. We have made it. We finished the book, and we are almost done with this election. I’m praying the election actually ends with the vote and doesn’t get dragged on any longer than is absolutely necessary.
There’s no such thing as early voting in Nebraska, unless you vote by absentee ballot. H did that, but I was not smart enough to follow his lead. So, I’ll be heading out to the polls on Tuesday to cast my vote. Despite the craziness of the campaigns—and I’m talking about campaigns from all directions: the candidates, the media, the pundits, the spinners, the FBI, the religious people, and more—I don’t think any of it actually changed anyone’s minds. Instead, we’ve simply had an unveiling of what’s been brewing in the heart of our country and its citizens for a very long time. For those of you who read the book, I pray it gave you a framework for shifting your focus away from a win or lose perspective of the election and toward the development of an ideological view that includes less dualism and more grace.
Now, here’s where I’d like to let you know about little change in our agenda. Way back when I first announced this session of the book club, I said I’d have a Facebook event where we could engage with one another live. Initially, I thought it might be fun to watch the election results together and talk about it in a live Facebook chat. But, this election season has been brutal, and so I’ve had a change of heart. Instead, I’m reviving the Prayers of the People Facebook Event which was coordinated in the wake of the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castille, and the police officers in Dallas, Texas. I invite you to pop in there and offer your prayers as people continue to vote over the next few days, as the election results come in, and as people seek to live with one another in the wake of whatever comes.
Over the course of the past few weeks, as we’ve been reading this book together, I’ve been supplementing my reading with other material. Whether you’ve voted or not, I thought this would be a good week to share some good stuff with you. Choose one or more of these, or go ahead and listen to them all. No matter who you vote for, I think you’ll experience a few “Aha!” moments, nestled into these recordings:
- The Robcast | Episode 122: We Need to Talk About Politics
- On Being | Sinfulness, Hopefullness, and the Possibility of Politcs, with David Brooks and E. J. Dionne
- Fresh Air | The ‘Dangerous, Volatile Game’ Trump Plays With The White Working Class
- On Being | How to Live Beyond this Election, with Natasha Trethewey and Eboo Patel
- Seriously | This American Life, Sara Bareilles, and Leslie Odom, Jr.
I do hope you’ll vote. I respect you if you don’t. I’ll be here when it’s all over and the dust has settled. I hope you’ll be here, too, so we can keep doing what we do, together. No matter what.
I just want to say thank you for initiating the book club. All the books I’ve read that you’ve suggested have caused me to begin looking with new eyes at the world around me and I thank you. While the election is undecided tonight, there are two take-a-ways from “Healing the Heart of Democracy” that will stay with me.
First, is the Lincoln quote from Chapter 5, “The man of the highest moral cultivation, in spite of all which abstract principle can do, likes him whom he DOES know, much better than him whom he does NOT know. To correct the evils, great and small, which spring from want of sympathy, and from positive enmity, among strangers, as nations, or as individuals, is one of the highest functions of civilizations.”
This is such a profound insight into the anxiety-ridden soul of humanity.
Then, Parker J. Palmer’s words in Chapter 6, “Within me is a power of darkness that may tempt me to want to “kill you off” when you threaten some concept of reality or morality that I cherish. I will not do it with a weapon but with a mental dismissal, some way of putting you into a category of people whose opinions mean nothing to me. Now I no longer need to be bothered by your otherness or by the tension it creates in me. That, it seems to me, is the spiritual equivalent of murder: I have rendered your utterly irrelevant to my life. “
You can see how the two thoughts are linked. I will continue to try not to summarily dismiss what is strange to me. I do not know all of the wonderful world that God has created. How could I dismiss any of His creation without, at least, a friendly ‘hello’.
Grace and peace.
Oh my goodness, Anna. Thank you for sharing this. Such beautiful thoughts. And thanks for hanging in — especially with this unlikely book choice. Peace to you.