By the time this posts, it will all be over. The votes will have been tallied, and winners and losers decided. The victory parties will be in full motion while the defeated will, post-concession, rightly retreat and rest until the next round.
All will be oldish news already by the time you read these words, and yet the pride I am feeling just fresh from the voting booth and over this election will remain well after the last political sign is pulled from the front lawn.
Maybe it’s because I’m old enough to truly and fully appreciate the chance to vote. My 46 years of life mean that I’ve been able to take part in this process for 28 years now. That’s a whole lot of little oval circles waiting to be filled in, and a whole lot of “chads” that have claimed their place in my history, for better or worse.
This one, I know, will stand out. What I’ve witnessed here in North Dakota has been incredible; so much so that if the measures I support and the candidates I tout are among the casualties, I still will have the satisfaction of knowing I was part of something amazing. Truly, I stand in awe — over the process but most of all the people who took part.
People like Katie, who mightily promoted a measure that meant the world to her due to personal experiences, then took a verbal beating for it by some of her blog readers. She stood proud anyway, despite the lashings. That takes courage.
Or like Sarah, a friend in her 20s who, having recently re-embraced the Catholic faith of her rearing, decided she wasn’t going to be just a pray-er but needed to jump into the thick of things as a do-er. Sarah bravely volunteered to help create a video to support a measure to uphold life, knowing she could well lose a big chunk of her old friends over it. She walked into the spotlight boldly and did not relent, even when the rotten tomatoes started coming. Sadly, she did lose some friends, but happily, gained many more.
Or like Betty, a friend who, though now a United States citizen, is originally from Ethiopia. She inspires me every election since she’s become an official member of our land, but reminded me this election just how spectacular voting is when, on her Facebook page, she admitted she gets as giddy as a kid in a candy store every election.
To exemplify her excitement, she shared this quote from a famous children’s author:
These are just a few of the people that made me feel proud to be part of this process; a process that gives us all a voice and vote, should we take up the task — and we should.
On Monday, I was invited to be a guest on a local radio program to talk about assisted suicide. The host, in talking of the now well-known Brittany Maynard death by lethal drugs, said that when it comes down to it, it really was Brittany’s choice.
But I have a slightly different thought about it, and culpability. I told her that every action we take has an effect on others. When we make a choice, it reverberates outward beyond ourselves, and the people touched by it touch others, and those others touch others, etc., until this ripple effect reaches far and wide. “We never act in isolation,” I said.
And it’s true here, too. Even though we might go into a little cubicle to cast our ballots, our vote ripples outward and has an effect.
Here’s something more. Even if no one else ever sees your vote, God sees it. Even if no one else ever sees what’s in your heart, God does. All those hidden things you do everyday — gestures of kindness so small they might well belong in “Who-ville” (speaking of Dr. Seuss), they count, big.
Your little stroke of the pen counts. Your small act of mercy counts. And your decision to sacrifice for another in that teeny tiny way? It counts, too.
Those of you who gave it your all in a way that might seem masked right now in the aftermath of an election, know that whatever it was that you did, that you believed in, if it was good and true, God saw it, and even if you can’t see the effect now, you will someday. You truly will.
A Bible passage in my Magnificat devotional on Voting Day reads thus: “Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. (Rom 12:11)
That’s all God asks of us — to take up our pens and fill in the little ovals; to do what we know is right. He’ll take care of all the rest of it.
To those of you who gave it your all, no matter the outcome, I am so very proud of you! Thank you, and may God bless America! (Yes, even those who voted differently than I.)
Q4U: What election do you most remember, and why?