Voting is not just for elections.
Yes, every so often we have an official election day where we get to cast our ballots, and I did that yesterday, as I’m sure many of you did. And when we do that, it rarely ever goes completely the way that we’d want it. There’s always a sting in the tail.
Yesterday’s vote was no exception. It was fantastic news that the Democrats were able to secure a majority in the House, but, as expected, they lost ground in the Senate. On top of that, it looks likely that Stacy Abrams will lose to Brian Kemp, a setback for good governance in the state of Georgia. There are other less savory results to mix in with undoubtedly positive news. Overall, I feel better this election cycle than the last couple, but I’m still struggling with dealing with the aftermath of Trump’s 2016 victory. I have some pretty dark moments.
In that mindset, I don’t always see a way out of the darkness. I wonder if we’ll ever build a community, a city, a nation, a world that works for everyone and for all of our ecosystems. I think it’s easy to fall into the trap of despair at election time because we think of it like a football game or, even more intensely, a war or battle. When we vote and our candidates and policies lose, we think we’ve lost irrevocably. But that’s really not true, not if we are truly engaged and voting every day with our heads, hearts, hands, feet – our entire selves for the community we want.
Mark Van Steenwyk of the Center for Prophetic Imagination in Minneapolis had this to say this morning:
We must give our lives to sowing seeds of justice and peace. We must wake up every day and vote for life and love in the face of death – by making choices, large and small, to resist oppression and create space for goodness to flourish.
That is the vote that we must cast every day.
Casting our ballot is only one tool, and, perhaps, a weak one, for building a better world. Without our daily commitments to working for justice for the poor, immigrants, refugees, people of color, our votes on election day mean virtually nothing. They are like the seed sown on thin soil that may spring up quickly, only to whither on the first hot, dry day.
I plan to vote with my actions today and every day until we see a new world. Maybe I won’t see that world, but I’ll keep “voting” for it. I hope you’ll join me in planting the tree of tomorrow.
How many people in the worlds that make up the world can say as we do, that they are doing what they want to? We think there are many, that the worlds of the world are filled with crazy and foolish people each planting their trees for each of their tomorrows, and that the day will come when this mountainside of the universe that some call Planet Earth will be filled with trees of all colors, and there will be so many birds and comforts… – Subcomandante Marcos (aka Subcomandante Galeano)
By Robin Taylor from Bamako, Mali (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons