The Morality of a Vote

Does my vote mean anything? Does it really make a difference if I check the name of Candidate A or Candidate B? Does it matter whether his/her name has an “R” or a “D” next to it?  If you think your vote has little impact, think again.

Just as surely as every elected official is responsible for his/her policies pursued and official actions taken, so too does your vote, my vote, have a moral impact.  If you voted for Donald Trump and you don’t see the link between that vote, Trump’s election, and the murder of George Floyd, then your blindness is either willful or ignorant. Either way, you bear responsibility.

In his opinion piece today, George Will lays it out pretty clearly.  In part, he writes:

“The person voters hired in 2016 to ‘take care that the laws be faithfully executed’ stood on July 28, 2017, in front of uniformed police and urged them ‘please don’t be too nice’ when handling suspected offenders. His hope was fulfilled for 8 minutes and 46 seconds on Minneapolis pavement.”

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Trump’s Angry Tirade

Screen Shot 2020-04-14 at 5.42.32 AM“That’s just the left-wing media,” or “You need to stop watching that fake news.” Such are the baseless comments from Trump supporters whenever I’ve tried to engage them in thoughtful conversations about the current president.  When I try to explain that no, I’m not just parroting back what I’ve read in the Washington Post or the New York Times or seen on CNN; that what I’m sharing has come directly from Trump himself, I’m dismissed either with disbelief or an assertion that I’m exaggerating or taking him out of context.  Well, my Republican friends, what do you say when there’s no interpretation, no spin … just the words of Mr. Trump himself to provide full context and no exaggeration?

Yesterday’s White House briefing, ostensibly another update from the federal Coronavirus Task Force, was a sight to behold.  The paper-thin-skinned resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue apparently couldn’t take it anymore.  Apparently the aptly-titled and well-documented article from the NY Times, He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump’s Failure on the Virus was more than that thin skin could bear when the president was asked about it.  So, instead of spending the news conference providing reporters and the American people with much needed information about the virus’s impact on us all, the complainer-in-chief spent most of the time trying to defend himself against that article’s assertions — doing so, I might add, using a campaign-like piece of propaganda prepared by Federal workers on the our dime. The video, by the way, was instructive not so much for what it included, but what it excluded.

While this story from the Washington Post is correctly categorized as “analysis,” it accurately recounts what the “news briefing” was all about.

Here’s the whole briefing:


Sally Quinn’s Five Lessons after Five Years “On Faith”

I’m glad that The Washington Post publishes its On Faith section regularly. I was disappointed, however, in Sally Quinn’s reflections on five years of managing this important forum for discussion and mutual education.  Her Five lessons from On Faith makes one wonder how much she was paying attention, especially given her final statement that the one thing she knows is that God is whoever anyone of us says God is.

Here’s my comment that I posted there:

While this article has a few good points (especially the reminder about the common search for meaning, a la Viktor Frankl, that is present in all human cultures and times), on the whole Ms. Quinn doesn’t seem to have learned much in five years, at least not much about what religions and faiths and spirituality at their best do for humanity. 

Ms Quinn, do you realize the utter absurdity of concluding an article about “lessons on faith” by stating, “God is what you or I or anyone else says God is,” and then following this with the statement, “This I know”??? By definition, “faith” cannot be “known.”  If it were knowable, it would not be faith.

The Latin root of the word “absurd” means deaf. You say you came to the perspective that God is whoever or whatever anyone of us says God is because “nobody has the same view” and there are such different views about God held by people throughout the world. Instead of looking for cookie-cutter “definitions” of God that were the same everywhere, did you ever consider that such divergent views of the Divine themselves were evidence of the many paths to the same Ultimate Reality? Did you hear nothing of people’s views that God is utterly Transcendent and beyond our ability to categorize? Did you not listen when people of faith spoke of the divine as Mystery? Did you not ponder in silence, letting go of your rationalistic “need to know” when people of faith told you that their experience of God lead them to find forgiveness for enemies and deeper love for others?  If religion does this, then it is indeed “true religion,” and it helps us see that God is precisely NOT who or what we say God is. Such a god would be an idol, a “thing” of our own making. For people of faith, any faith, God, however, is indeed “no thing”; God is Being Itself and the source of all that is good, loving, kind, wise. As the scriptures from my tradition says, God is “I Am Who Am.”