I mailed my ballot in a week or two ago. Many others have as well. If you haven’t, you most probably have a plan in place to vote tomorrow. If you don’t, do figure it out. Meanwhile . . .
Unfortunately, there is little chance of a clear winner for this election for weeks to come. Far too much of the process is ambiguous to the American public – what are the rules for mail-in ballots?, how easy should it be to vote?, what is justifiable in the COVID-era? – for any sort of common agreement (think: bipartisan) on the outcome. And without common agreement, we fight. And if necessary, we fight all the way to the top. Much like the 2000 Election (Gore-Bush), a Supreme Court decision sometime in January is the most probable end-game to this match.
I hope I’m wrong. But if not, the country will be in limbo for the better part of two months. It was excruciating in 2000 and will be so again this year.
How will we stay the course? Well, I can tell you how we won’t stay the course:
Banking our emotional well-being on one outcome
Living for the triumph of our latest Facebook comment
Deep-sea diving in an ocean of news media for the next two months
Crawling into a whole and hoping when we emerge everything will be honky-dory
Arrows will fly. People will get hurt. Divisions will not go away anytime soon. It’s going to be a war zone.
I hate conflict. But I know one thing: the only person I can truly change is myself. And, since I already voted, I will start by shifting from the question, “Who will be president for the next four years?” to “What sort of person will I be for the next four months?” Will my words, actions, motives, and feelings be hurtful or helpful, reactionary or responsive, wound-up or wise, conflationary or constructive? I can stew, spew and skew or I can live, love, and illumine – it’s my choice.
I will end with wiser words than mine. Yet another prayer attributed to St. Francis of dubious origins. But nevermind the author – let the words speak to you!
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offence, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.”