5 ways to make it through the election & still keep your friends

blog 5 ways to make it through the election* this post is for the october synchroblog, centered on faith & politics.  i wrote a post several years ago that still probably sums things up for me.  when it comes to this year’s election, i am left with a  feeling that the system is so badly broken that it is discouraging. although i believe passionately in democracy, i am sad how it has often become more about media leverage than about serving people.  i’ll keep adding to the link list of other bloggers writing on the same topic at the end of this post as new ones come in.  

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a month from today americans will be voting for a new president.  some say its voting for the lesser of two evils, that the whole system is so far gone that none of our votes really matter. others don’t believe in government at all & others are passionate about proudly supporting either obama or romney & others are honest about why the words “christian” & president don’t really work.

personally, the relentless negativity and just-plain-craziness that blows through the air this season is  hard to endure.

i still do believe our vote matters.  i’m personally going to cast my vote for obama for the second time; i like to go to the ballot box at the lutheran church down the street and get my little “i voted” sticker. i don’t outwardly advocate for anyone to vote one way or another because i believe it’s a very personal decision, and my #1 hope is just that people don’t vote for the last candidate they heard speak on “good morning america”(unfortunately, that’s how a lot of this works).

i also think it’s important that we each make our own decision and be brave enough to just say “here’s what i’m doing” without feeling like we need to justify it or explain or worry about what others will think.  i realize that is easier said than done in a world that is quick to criticize, mock, and judge one another, no matter which side we’re on.

i thought it might be nice to share a few possibilites for us to make it through the next month a little less weary, a little less inclined to want to hide our friends on facebook or hide our true feelings. i am sure there are many other better suggestions than this, but here are a few ways to maybe make it through the next month & still keep our friends:

1. don’t assume. oh, it is so dangerous!  (i just rediscovered that old rant-y post!)  i’ll always remember when someone asked jose to come and help promote a sarah palin event without ever once considering that maybe he was voting for obama.  it was freaky, the lack of asking the question, the assumption that all-christians-must-be-voting-republican.  it can go the other way, too.  best is to ask instead of assume.

2. respect each other’s positions with humility.   i am not a romney fan but i know some of my friends are.  it is easy to judge & mock & say “i can’t believe they support this or that…” but the truth is that everyone is entitled to their own opinions & the best we can give each other is respecting our differences and agreeing to disagree.

3. try not to be rude.  seriously, some of the facebook posts are just plain rude about one side or the other.  it’s okay to say who we support without completely belittling the other side.

4.  judge not lest ye be judged.  yeah, i’m always busted on that one.  how easy it is for me to judge others who see things differently from me.  election year is a great place to practice non-judgement. sure, we see things differently but voting one way or another is not a sin even though it can feel like one.  let’s lay down our stones & worry about our own logs.

5. see hearts not votes.  all of these are really lessons far beyond voting, but i hope that we see beyond votes & remember each person’s human heart.  we don’t have to agree with each other’s  politics but it’s awfully unfair to translate that into judgments about hearts.  when it’s all said and done, we’re all just people doing the best we can to make it through the day.

bonus #6.  take a deep breath and remember–it’s almost over.  

so there you go, just a few thoughts today, maybe ways we can keep practicing becoming better human beings this month.  i most definitely need some help from God to practice them.  what else would you add?

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other bloggers writing on faith & politics this month:

 

 

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar co-pastors at The Refuge, a Christian community and mission center in North Denver and is the author of Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.

24 Comments

  • Always good to be reminded of these points, especially during election season. It actually did my heart good to watch the debate between O’Reilly and Jon Stewart the other day. It was good to seem them disagree with each other strongly, but still joke and be civil and respectful of one another. I can always use more practice at being able to disagree but still honor the image of God in the other person. 😉

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    • i need to watch that, i hadn’t heard about it, i’lll google it. i was watching jon stewart on the plane this week and i was laughing so hard that the people on each side of me probably thought i was crazy. he is so freaking funny.

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  • I especially like the bonus … as much as I love politics and the process, I cannot abide this season and the ads (on all sides in all races) are really getting to me.

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  • I wish every Christian would read this post!! It is so sad that everyone assumes if you are a Christian you are a Republican. In my world, I am one of the few who sees things differently and it gets really old to be the only one in a group not towing the party line and being apologized to when something partisan is said in my presence. Really? Don’t apologize, just let me have my opinion be valid too! The anger is what is really hard for me to take. Thanks for the wisdom, Kathy.

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    • i thought about you a lot when i was writing this post, patty, especially the first one “don’t assume” because you guys are an anomaly in your culture. oh it’s been comical, some of the facebook posts and emails and the assumptions. crazy, really. see you next week!

      Reply
  • Wonderful advice. I love the advice to “see hearts not votes.” It’s so easy to forget that –

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  • Thank you for how simply and gently you put this, Kathy. Yes, indeed – soon it will be over. I look forward to the post-election days very much.

    Reply
  • Pingback: We The People | Wendy McCaig
  • Okay, I’ll bite: Why Obama? Did you take this great quiz and find out you most align with his stated positions? http://www.isidewith.com/ (It really is a helpful quiz, and your results may surprise you.)

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    • that is a helpful quiz! i have a thousand things to be doing but i took the time to take it and i’m glad. and yep, i’m voting for the right person for me.

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  • Thanks for this much needed great advice. It’s easy to get caught up in the passion of politics and forget that the most important thing is our relationship with other people. I will definitely use what you offered here to get me through the rest of this election cycle.

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  • I think the issue is neither candidate represents the majority of Americans–Christian or non-Christian. If you look at all the Polls the majority of Americans agree on the key issues. But neither Romney or Obama reflect those views. This is why so many Americans feel alienated and disgusted from the Political process–where do find a candidate who represents our views and how can we persuade them to vote our common interests. Both the Dems and Republicans are not the answer.

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    • hey mich, yeah, i’d so agree with you that the democrats or republicans are not the answer for sure. it’s so jacked up, the whole system and it’s been hijacked. the worst part is that it’s so broken that fixing it would require such a major overhaul i’m not sure it will ever happen.

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  • Yes, hearts not votes. But that is so hard. I just have to remind myself that many people who are voting differently than I am have lovely hearts. And some of them are voting because of the love in their hearts…their hearts just see things differently than mine does.

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    • thanks, erin. yeah, it’s hard not to associate votes with hearts, especially on some of these issues, but it is true that our hearts aren’t “bad” just different and usually sincere.

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  • My tip is to hide all (or most) of your friends on facebook until after the election. It prevents anger and frustration and helps me keep my peace. 🙂

    Reply

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