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Every time voting day comes around, I take great pride in filling out my ballot and casting my vote. And I always then love wearing my lapel pin that reads simply “I voted.”
I feel a sense of solidarity with others I see through the day wearing theirs. Sometimes we see each other wearing our pins, and we just give each other a knowing nod and a smile. No words are exchanged. And I have never once asked another who they voted for – it doesn’t matter. We voted. That is what we share.
I remember so well the night in 2000 when my two sons, one 15 and one 14, sat with me through the evening watching election results. Finally, around 11pm, I told them to go to bed. We still didn’t know if George W. Bush or Al Gore had won. We knew by then it was going to come down to Florida, but we also knew it was going to take a while for all those votes to be counted. As they climbed the stairs to go up to bed, I realized two things: they would both vote in the next presidential election; and they were going to bed that night with the powerful message that every vote counts.
There is something deeply theological and I would argue deeply spiritual about casting a vote. As ones created in the image and likeness of a God who called us good, we all have agency. We are not passive participants in the unfolding of history, the shaping of our lives, or the creation of the communities in which we live. Every voice matters and should be heard; and every vote matters and should be counted. Because everyone of us has a story and a history, and they inform a conscience that uses its lived experiences to have a sense of what and who make for the common good, then we should all vote and be counted.
The founders wrote this into our original documents: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.”
Granted, it would take this country a while, a long while, to understand the full impact and import of these words. It had to learn the hard way that color and gender were not intended by that very Creator to determine who was more equal than others.
A vote is not just a voice, not just participation in a democracy that tries to level the playing field for all. It is a way of saying I matter. My experiences count and because of them, you must hear me. It is a way of honoring personhood, presence, and the possibility that in every one of us there is a right and reason to speak and be heard.
Yes, that is profoundly theological. And I believe it is deeply spiritual to acknowledge your inherent worth, speak your voice, and cast your vote.
Thank you to all who voted, whether you got everything you hope for or not by doing so.
Thank you to all who through the years fight to ensure that every vote matters and all votes will be counted.
Thank you to the God who created us in their image and endowed us with these inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of our happiness.
May freedom abide, and the casting of our votes lead us closer to the day when there will justice for all on this, our journey Into the Mystic.
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