Election Day

Regardless as to how a Christian feels regarding the relationship between church and state, this side of eternity we, as fellow travelers on this planet, must decide how we will live with each other. We are, for better or worse, forced into being political creatures. We must, collectively, decide how we will live together and manage our collective dreams, desires, and life-projects.

As a Christian, my deep desire is that we manage those decisions peaceably, without conflict or bloodshed. In America, as elsewhere, we've chosen to abide by the vote of the majority of the people. This might not be the best system, but as a peaceable solution I find it Christian in its impulse. Election Day isn't the coming of the Kingdom of God. But insofar as Election Day allows a conflicted and violence-filled people to collectively manage their shared fates in a peaceable way I find Election Day to be a bit of sunlight from the edges of Eternity.

Election Day, November, 1884
If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and
'Twould not be you, Niagara--nor you, ye limitless prairies--nor
your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,
Nor you, Yosemite--nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic
geyser-loops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,
Nor Oregon's white cones--nor Huron's belt of mighty lakes--nor
Mississippi's stream:
--This seething hemisphere's humanity, as now, I'd name--the still
small voice vibrating--America's choosing day,
(The heart of it not in the chosen--the act itself the main, the
quadriennial choosing,)
The stretch of North and South arous'd--sea-board and inland--
Texas to Maine--the Prairie States--Vermont, Virginia, California,
The final ballot-shower from East to West--the paradox and conflict,
The countless snow-flakes falling--(a swordless conflict,
Yet more than all Rome's wars of old, or modern Napoleon's:) the
peaceful choice of all,
Or good or ill humanity--welcoming the darker odds, the dross:
--Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify--while the heart
pants, life glows:
These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,
Swell'd Washington's, Jefferson's, Lincoln's sails.

--Walt Whitman

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