As I write this article I, like the rest of Americans, am still wondering who will be our next president. People are still counting the votes and the President is threading law suits to reverse the outcomes. Confusion is everywhere and we need “cooler heads” to lead us to a just peace.
In Fr. Richard Rohr’s November 4, 2020 meditation, he calls us to listen to the prophetic words of Sister Joan Chittister who calls on us to make a full commitment to act with integrity.
Here are her words: “As a people, we are at a crossover moment. It is a call to all of us to be our best, our least superficial, our most serious about what it means to be a Christian and also a citizen. Where in the midst of such polarization and national disunity is even the hope of ‘oneing,’ of integrating the social with what we say are our spiritual selves?
“To heal such division means that we have to search out and identify our own personal value system. It requires us to admit to ourselves what it is that really drives our individual social decisions, our votes, our political alliances. Is it our need to look powerful or to be in control?
“A national cure also surely demands that we begin to see tradition as a call to return to the best of the past, not as a burden to be overcome in order to secure the best of the present. It is the sense of a commonly held tradition of the common good – once a strong part of the American past – that we clearly lack in the present.
“We must make ‘Love one another as I have loved you’ (John 13:34) the foundation of national respect, the standard of our national discernment, the bedrock of both our personal relationships and a civilized society.
“To be one, we do not need one party, one program, one set of policies. What we need is one heart for the world at large, a single-minded commitment to this ‘more perfect union,’ and one national soul, large enough to listen to one another for the sake of the planet – for the sake of all.
“Where can we look for ‘oneing’ in the political arena? Only within the confines of our own hearts. Politics and government do not exist on its own; if it does, that’s exactly when it becomes at least death-dealing, if not entirely evil. Politics is nothing more than an instrument of social good and human development. It is the right arm of those whose souls have melted into God.”
Why are so many people disenfranchised with our election process? Maybe we need to start over and look at the big picture. Maybe we ought to do away with the Electoral College. The Electoral College was set up so that politicians would not ignore states with smaller populations when candidates were campaigning throughout the country. With modern communications, a candidate’s message can be heard by everyone on various media outlets.
Maybe we should start by changing the way we hold our primaries. Instead of a few states deciding who will be the candidates, each party can have a series of national debates beginning in the Spring of the election year. A national party election could determine the front runners. Then the national party’s conventions would again determine who would be the party’s candidates.
Then, when the national elections were held, the popular winner would become president. With a shorter time for campaigning, the tendency of the candidates might be to become less negative and more interested in letting the nation know where they stand on various issues. All of us would be winners if we had a shorter, less expensive campaign.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”
Let’s make it easier for everyone to participate.