On Oct. 17, 2020, my family and I filled out our 2020 ballots. I felt sad as I signed my name on the ballot. A part of me was wondering, “does my vote really count that much?” I’m just one of approximately 328 million adult Americans casting their votes this election year.
Like you, I repeatedly heard the mantras “Your vote counts,” “your vote is your voice,” “every lawfully cast vote accurately counted” and “Be ready. Be registered. Be heard. Vote.”
Does my vote really count? I’ve been thinking about it. I’ve been wondering if we approached “voting” differently, would the outcome be different? What if we allow ourselves to have a “both/and questions,” rather than “either/or questions?” Would open-ended questions set us free to process our national situations? Would we, in a dignifying way, respect all the people in our country? Would we come up with different observations and strategies to better our nation in its entirety?
When you intentionally pause to make an assessment of our political arena, what do we see? As we open our hearts and listen, do we listen to the voices of all the people in our land? What are their needs? What are their dreams? Passions? If nothing else, these sorts of questions might give us the freedom to develop our own stories in a less dualistic fashion.
“We are called to do something new, to confront a no-man’s-land, to push into a forest where there are no well-worn paths and from which no one has returned to guide us… If you do not… you will have betrayed yourself and your community in failing to make your contribution to the whole” (Rollo May, “The Courage to Create”).
We all face different situations in life. Some of us see possibilities when others see impossibilities, but if we factor into our diverse situations the reality of God’s presence with us and God’s promises to us, we will be better off.
We are not going to deny the reality of the difficulties we face, but we are to declare the power of God to overcome them.
“Pessimists observe a situation, generalize its bad aspects, and interpret them as a permanent and constant feature. In contrast, the optimist observes the same situation and sees the bad aspects, but particularizes them and interprets them as a temporary obstacle that can be overcome” (Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Andrea L. Weiss, "The Torah: A Women’s Commentary”).
I don’t want to fail to contribute to my country and world community because of my negative attitude, narrow perspective and lack of faith in God. I don’t want to see myself as a nobody who is powerless against evil giants. I refuse to see myself as the impotent and hopeless because I am assessing myself and our circumstances without attributing power to the One who is powerful. I want to read our situation through God’s perspective.
Will the way we vote in 2020 be determined by a man-centered assessment of the political situation or by a God-generated assessment of the same political situation? Will we see our present options without factoring in God, or will we see the nuances of the present political situation through God’s eyes?
We must decide for ourselves. We have to decide how our vote will affect our nation now and in the future.
Personally, I can only make such a “history-making” decision through prayer and dependence on the Holy Spirit to guide me in my voting.
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do” (Edward Everett Hale).
“The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country” (Franklin D. Roosevelt).
God bless us all.