Is it November yet?!? At my age, I don’t want to wish away even a single moment of my life, but I am completely and thoroughly over this political season. One party has totally taken leave of their senses. It has been close for a while, but this year it is absolutely terrifying. I proudly voted against George W. Bush four times and wrote a book called The Real antiChrist and put him on the cover. He once cursed me by name on television, but even he didn’t frighten me as badly as this crop does.
On the other side, I’m about ready to send both candidates to their rooms without any supper. Actually, I’m not sure I want to spank them as much as I do their supporters. The bickering and pettiness turn me off with both sets of them. Now, I am a political animal, and Bill and I always have been very active politically. One of the first things we did together was work on a political campaign. Years ago, a presidential candidate called me at home one night to ask me to work on his campaign. We took our daughters with us to vote and to caucus in order to teach them the value of doing their civic duty.
All that is to say if this is turning me off imagine what it is doing to new voters or those at the margins of the political system. No wonder angry, older, white people have disproportionate influence on our system. It seems we either have become angry, bitter, and nasty like they are, or we have abandoned the political system to them.
There HAS to be a third way. I know everyone keeps talking about civility, but SOMEONE has to GO FIRST. Every time I hear a pollster talk about the percentage of people who are undecided I am totally incredulous. Really? There are people who are undecided at this point? Oh, I do believe there are people who want to check “None of the above,” but undecided? It is up to those of us who have decided on our candidate to start treating those who have decided on another with civility, and demanding that everyone else do the same. We don’t all have to agree on a candidate or an issue, but if we keep behaving like those angry voters who support “those who shall not be named,” we will only run off people who have the greatest stake in shaping a system that will care for the least.
Civility: Treating people as Jesus would, with respect, gentleness, kindness, forbearance and forgiveness … and insisting that others do the same.
Rev. Michael Piazza