Election Day is a few days away. And its approach has brought men with tactical gear and assault rifles hanging around a ballot drop box. It has brought a violent attack on the spouse of our third-ranking national leader. It has brought antisemitic attacks on candidates. It has brought a surge of racial slurs on Twitter. It has brought us horrifying memes and "jokes." (Washington Post 11/2/22: "And the evening of the attack, Rep. Claudia Tenney retweeted a photo of several men carrying hammers outside a home with a “United Against Hate” sign and a gay pride flag. “LOL,” the freshman congresswoman added.")
An online survey of more than 8,600 adults in the United States was conducted from May to June on behalf of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis. It's findings are chilling:
- 40% agreed that “having a strong leader for America is more important than having a democracy.”
- 18% agree that “because things have gotten so far off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country.”
- 41.2% agreed—16.2% agreed strongly or very strongly—with the proposition that “in America, native-born white people are being replaced by immigrants.”
- 7.3% believed that violence was at least sometimes justified “to stop people who do not share my beliefs from voting.”
Is this our country now?! Is this level of casual violence and disregard for others' humanity how we operate now? It is disheartening. And scary.
As I have said: I find it all the more appalling because so many of those in power who casually reference violence, also profess to be Christians. CHRISTIANS!- who follow the one who literally DIED rather than be violent or vengeful. -who follow the one who said love your neighbor, do not judge, put down your sword, welcome the stranger, blessed are the peacemakers, blessed are the merciful.
What can we do, those of us who seek to follow Jesus' way of peace, hospitality, compassion and generosity? We can vote!! And we can stay connected to our neighbors. We can LOVE our neighbors, whether they be Democrats, Republicans, Independents, or have sworn off politics completely.
Or read more about Our Faith, Our Vote from the United Church of Christ: "Politics is often taken to be a dirty word, but political processes are simply the way communities organize their common life. For people of faith, public policy is never merely politics. It is a way of living out the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves."
Happy Election Day, Good People! Let us pray for peace, vote our faithful conscience, and love one another through these chaotic times.