Electing to take responsibility between elections

I am so glad election season is over. I was getting really sick of hearing people talking about it as if they were in the know. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s people who think they are in the know. About anything. About everything!

It’s the barber who stops cutting hair to pontificate about Trump. It’s the mother on her cell-phone in hushed tones about the latest, greatest conspiracy theory. It’s the grandma holding up BUNCO relaying the latest Hillary gossip. It’s the guy at work who stations himself next to the watercooler or vending machine and monopolizes break times with his self-assured and -proclaimed “vast knowledge” of political pockets.

I am glad the election is over because I am badly in need of a haircut and want to use the bathroom by the breakroom at work. Election years bring knowing types out of the woodwork. I need to be able to strike up a conversation without it turning to political topics, resulting in my wanting to strike a match and set myself on fire and perish prior to having another uninformed political conversation with fictional facts preached as gospel.

You may see the political Cliff Clavins coming (cringe!) but cannot duck them entirely any more than you can dodge 100% of the political phone calls. Even the most studiously avoidant among us eventually makes the mistake of picking up the phone out of habit, without first glancing at the caller ID.

And then we are treated to an earful of mud: recitation of all the latest election dirt, as if the tale-teller personally knows the candidates. This pseudo-confidential information is always related the same, intimate way it would be if they were telling you their son-in-law had a sudden attack of diarrhea while dragging from the woods an eight-point buck he’d baited and shot or that a neighbor found a skunk under the front porch. It all stinks and nobody cares. Because none of it really affects us. Thank goodness!

Even without hearing the content, you can always tell someone who thinks he/she is in the know about a particular subject or person. It’s obvious. Many will start a sentence with the phrase, “Well you know … ” and then dump the dirt about whatever. The dirt-dumping is frequently accompanied by a squinted eye and emphatic finger-pointing, if the dumper is male. Or by eye-rolling and excessive hand-talking, if the dumper is female. If you don’t believe me, start watching.

What I heard most, whether the one being discussed was anyone from dog catcher candidate to Democratic Party Oval Office nominee, was “He”, “She”, and “They”. The election and the state of things to follow was being completely externalized. That’s what really stinks about election years. At no other time do people react as such major victims of politics, yet personally take no responsibility.

Just like real faith is lived out between church services, real political change occurs in real situations outside of the polling places, and in off-years. I’m not kidding. So don’t wait for someone playing politician to change things, Actively work toward affecting change, yourself. Do your part. Be the change you want to see. Don’t just vote at elections. Vote through your daily actions.

As Union City High School alumnus Debbie (Craig) Egnatuk, now of Marshall, posted on Facebook three days before the November 8, 2016 national election:

“On this next election day, and days to come, whether it be Hillary or Donald, we are human beings living in a country with freedom and choices to make.

“We will be kind to each other, help those in need, love unconditionally, love the unlovable, befriend someone less fortunate, treat each other with respect, forgive, believe, never lose hope, work to eliminate un-justice, hug the babies, care for the elderly, and on and on and on!

“Whether it is Hillary or Donald, we can continue to create a world that is united in our care for all life and stewardship of Creation. I have seen this in our families, communities and the world. We may mourn the outcome, but should not lose focus on what is right in front of us on a daily basis.”

Amen, Sister Debbie!


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