I worked at the polls last week. Because so few people are volunteering these days, we had the bare minimum working in our precinct, but ours is a small one, so it wasn’t a problem. It was a long day, however. We worked from 6 am to after 9 pm before we were able to leave the polls. Even though it took me two days to recover, I’m more than ready to help the next time.
We take so much for granted. I’ve voted in every election since my husband, and I returned from Europe in 1961, yet up until this last election, I’ve rarely thought about the people who faithfully work the polls and make sure everything is correct and legal. I was fascinated by how we did everything at least twice. Many things we did four times – just to make sure. We checked names. We required ID. If someone was new to our precinct, the book told us not only to require ID but for some to register at the provisional table. We even had records of all those who received mail-in ballots and who voted and who didn’t.
While ours is a large nation with millions and millions of citizens and non-residents, last Tuesday’s experience reminded me of why “all elections are local.” It would be almost impossible to deal with elections at a state or national level. By having smaller precincts scattered all around, voting is made easier, and keeping track of votes becomes fairly simple…especially when there is someone working or observing each and every step along the way. After last Tuesday’s experience, I have little patience with those who scream fraud. That’s just plain poor sportsmanship and sour grapes. Instead of pointing the finger at others, they’re the ones who are trying to rig the system, limit voting, and make it more difficult. Those of us who put in long hours were simply making sure our voting system is among the safest in the world.
I can understand just how disappointed people are when they or their candidate doesn’t win, but that’s no reason to scream “fraud, ” threaten poll workers, claim the election was stolen, or try to prevent some from voting. Of all the things Trump has done, eroding our faith in our voting system may well be the most dangerous. We, so-called adults, need to set good examples for our youth. We need to demonstrate faith in the system. We need to model playing by the rules and working to make things fair for everyone. How anyone can support candidates who don’t play fair, intentionally tell lies, and deliberately create alternative facts defies me. I may not like some of the decisions those who govern us make, but that is no reason to shoot, defame, or threaten anyone who differs from me.
The older I get, the more I realize how important it is to be a good sportsman and to think in terms of we, not me. While we each live at the center of our own small universe, life opens like a lovely flower when we become aware of how our actions affect others. When Jesus tells us we have to lose our lives in order to save them, he was talking about the importance of cooperation and working with and for others. I am so grateful that some of my most significant spiritual experiences have been when God has told me in no uncertain terms to get over myself.
I watched a Nature program last evening on PTV called The Soul of The Ocean. It blew me away as it described how every single atom, bacteria, virus, creature, plant, etc., works in harmony with others. Every fish is not only part of a community; it depends on its relationship and communication with other species, such as coral, plants, algae, etc. This is true for all other species. Trees and plants also work together and communicate with each other to ensure they have needed food, nutrients, water, and protection. We are the only species that seems to think we can function without cooperating with others and looking at the results. Droughts. Floods. Storms. Fires. Pandemics. All are not only part of the balance of nature, but many seem to be our planet’s desperate attempt to heal itself and put us in our rightful place. as part of an integrated whole, not something above, beyond, or superior.
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.