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Can this election end with civility?

From the Christian Science Sentinel - October 29, 2008

Originally appeared on spirituality.com


My family’s presidential preferences remind me of a Civil War family’s divisions— with some choosing to wear blue and others gray. The modern-day red and blue distinctions among my family members are indelible and unwavering. “War” has been declared with some anxious to vote early so they can “kill” the rest of our votes before we go to the polls. The implication is that victory will be decided on November 4.

Sound too melodramatic?

As election day gets closer, I’m trying to get some fresh inspiration to prepare myself for the results. With all the uncertainty and fears that abound regarding our national security and our current economic instability, emotions and opinions are intense about how to move forward. My daughter says she’s counting on me to keep cool. In fact, she likes to call me an “extreme moderate.”

I’ll admit that prior to this year, I’ve never planned to vote in an election that mattered this much to me. While I’ve always had my favorite candidates, I’ve also been able to respectfully accept the results and resolve to support my new President even when he wasn’t my choice.

This time around, I admit I’ve sometimes allowed myself to be influenced and inflamed by campaign rhetoric, which we all know has often been filled with much negativity. And I do have an opinion about who I think has the best policy plans and abilities.

Still I’m not so sure that any one person or President can really know all the best solutions. And I don’t believe God favors one of His children more than another. Nor do I believe that God provides one of His children with more wisdom than another.

There are many Biblical examples of how peace and unity were achieved in the midst of disagreements and tensions. One that comes to mind was between Abram (later called Abraham) and his nephew, Lot. Abram and Lot, along with each of their servants, shepherds, herdsmen, and families, were traveling to find a new land where a great nation was going to be formed according to God’s word.

Once they’d reached this land, it became clear that Abram and Lot needed to separate civilly for there to be sufficient room for the two of them. Their herdsmen and shepherds argued about which section of land should belong to whom. Because Abram was certain that God would take care of them both, he told Lot to choose the land he wanted. He said, “Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.”

It seems to me that the time is approaching for us to all remember that we, too, are “brethren”– fellow Americans who share the same dreams, hopes, and vision for our country. We may all have varying opinions on how we reach these dreams, but that’s the beauty of democracy.

We debate, argue, and discuss. We agree to disagree when necessary and compromise for the greater good. Then we unite and aim to have a peaceful transfer of power. And we continue on our course to build an even greater nation.

Throughout my life, I’ve been determined to express respect toward the President regardless of his political party affiliation and despite whether or not I voted for him. Perhaps the success of America in the future will be determined as it always has been in the past by the civility and ingenuity of its people.

A friend recently reminded me that Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, once told her students they needed to have “faith in God’s disposal of events” (Miscellany, 281:6). And she shared some of the many definitions she was finding as she pondered the meaning and implication of the word - “disposal.” There were words such as direction, order, placement, management, tending, provision, organization, power to use, as well as settling, getting rid of and weeding out. A plethora of ideas to consider!

So I, too, am trying to have “faith in God’s disposal of events” and I must admit it’s a relief to be able to put all my worries and fears in the hands of our Father-Mother God. This makes me hopeful that what seems like our country’s many unsolvable problems are indeed solvable. My confidence grows when I remember these words of Christ Jesus, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” All the more reason to pray that our leaders are receptive to God’s directing and wisdom!

So when the dust settles from the “final battle” on November 4, I resolve to stay focused on what I’m going to do next to best support and help my country. No doubt I should consider more wisely how my environmental and financial decisions impact the rest of us. But I’ll also work to have the right attitude and pray to support my leaders–all of them.


Unity:

Science and Health
571:18

King James Bible
Gen. 13:8
Matt. 19:26
Ps. 133:1

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