Two weeks from today will be Election Day, Nov. 6. Few such days in past years have been as important. Americans will be choosing the next Congress, state legislature, and local government officials. In Kansas, we’ll be electing a new governor.
I’m hoping, and indeed praying, for a tsunami of voters to engulf the polling places. I’m looking forward to a vast multitude of Americans donning that most treasured civic medal -- the “I Voted” sticker. To have that little sticker displayed on our person as we exit the polls is a high honor vital to our democracy. Step up and vote, make yourself heard, receive your medal, and wear it proudly and thankfully.
Voting is a priceless privilege; it must never be ignored or dismissed with a shrug or yawn.
As with every American election, there are dramatic differences between the candidates and the parties they represent. There are radical contrasts in personalities, philosophies, practices, and promises. Each vote is a personal and private decision, but I hope and I pray that every vote will be the result of listening, learning, pondering, and only then deciding.
A vote should be the result of critical thinking and not just a thoughtless nod to some immature emotional slogan. No vote should be cast for the one who is the best showman. Let us vote for those who will best serve all the people and not for those seeking only to rule for the benefit of the few.
In the past months, I’ve been listening to and pondering the words of the candidates for Kansas governor. To me, this is the most crucial contest of this November. The contrast between the candidates sharp, profound and very important for every Kansan.
But as we all know there is a deeper issue being decided in this election. Our votes count far beyond our nearer concerns, even the governor’s race. Hopefully the vote next Tuesday will reflect America’s commitment to democracy and its rejection of autocracy; its affirmation of the “rule of law” under which every citizen is accountable.
Hopefully, America will proclaim its respect and faithfulness to all women and its rejection of misogynistic arrogance and cruelty. Hopefully, America will affirm its loyalty to long-standing allies and reject the “falling in love” with, or doing exorbitantly profitable business with, tyrants and dictators. The Nov. 6 vote can call our leaders to rational converse and can reject communications by immature tweets of insults and threats. We might even return compassion and hospitality to America.
On this Election Day, America can again affirm the Statue of Liberty and the invitation inscribed on this glorious symbol of America’s goodness: “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” And finally, we may again bring morality, decency, civility, and honesty to our nation.
With your vote next Tuesday, you and all America can proclaim America’s greatness in its goodness, and cease bragging of American greatness by threat, intimidation and isolation. Election Day is a pivotal moment in American history. Let your vote be a part of that pivot.
Since my early awakening while serving as a young senator in Kentucky, I’ve numbered myself among Liberals. It was while serving in politics that I found my political way. I am thankful to be a Liberal. I commend it to everyone. The ideology is defined in the dictionary as those who “favor progress or reform,” who are “free from prejudice, tolerant,” who are “not strict or literal.” These are sterling qualities, much needed in today’s complex and divided nation. For any who desire, you can look up Conservative in the dictionary as well.
So, fellow Kansans, let us go forth and vote next Tuesday, but make it a thoughtful choice. Vote for the party that will lead us into a positive and prosperous future. Ignore those who seek to hold us back to a trickle-down swamp where only the rich and famous enjoy the fruits. Best of all vote the full Democrat ticket and we’ll all reap a bountiful harvest. And above all, you will help save our beloved America’s greatness through her goodness.
Father Bob Layne is a retired Episcopal priest from McPherson.