Tuesday, November 2

It's Election Day - five simple things you can do

by David Batstone
1) A vote is a terrible thing to waste. Don't put off going to the polls to the last minute. Stuff happens, and you may lose your opportunity to cast a ballot. Once you are in the privacy of your booth, vote with ALL your values. Vote not how you "should" - because someone told you that was the only way to vote if you are a true Sneetch (think Dr. Seuss), or whatever other creature you are supposed to be - but vote how you "must," led by your conscience.

2) Ask at least 10 people (count 'em out until you're done!) during the course of the day whether they have voted. Remind them that people before us have taken on remarkable personal risk, and even death, to give us this right. Many of our SojoMail readers will be going one step further, and walking door to door to remind people to vote, or even driving those with limited mobility to the polls.

3) Be an advocate for anyone who is denied the right to vote. The fact that more than a few political operatives have set out to suppress the vote in hotly contested electoral districts is appalling. If you witness such an undemocratic act, report it immediately to election officials.

4) Start planning how you will stay engaged in the political process on Wednesday morning, moving forward. No matter who wins. Politics do not happen once every four years. Politicians like to see which way the wind blows. So, as Jim Wallis is so fond of saying, let's change the wind.

5) Pray for common ground with your political opponents, then walk on that fertile soil. Too many important political issues in America today are polarized, and the inevitable result is paralysis. Jim Forest visited my class at the University of San Francisco this past week and shared with the students a profound insight: "The opposite of love is not hate, but fear." We fear sliding down a slope from the height of our own self-right-ness. We fear our adversary. We fear losing control. And we cease to love.
Do these five things today and you will have "let freedom ring" in your community. What sweet music it would be if we could hear those tones across the land.

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