Today – one week before voting day for President of the United States – I’d like to offer a note I received in June from theologian, storyteller Megan McKenna. A friend had asked what her “rules” for choosing a candidate for political office would be. This was her response.
Here is something I wrote in response to a question. It’s a place to start. Enjoy and feel free to comment and send me any of your thoughts. I’m sure I’ll be using it more and more as time goes on. Blessings, Shalom, Megan
Here are my rules (so to speak) for voting … rough form. They are more developed when I speak them.
I. Vote for the person you think will do the least amount of harm (war, nuclear weapons, new weapons, death penalty, economics, housing, health insurance, etc.).
2. Vote for the person you think will allow you and others with you to do the most amount of good (correcting and undoing the gutting of the Constitution, rights, freedoms in the US, etc. from the last 8 years), as well as work for legistation against the death penalty, for housing, decent wages, immigration (welcoming the stranger since we were all in that group once unless we are native Americans), universal health care, dialogue with other nations (trying to pull our international reputation out of where it is today because of Iraq/Afghanistan/torture, aggression, pre-emptive strikes, alliance with Israel, refusal to dialog with Iran/Sudan/Cuba/Palestine, etc.).
3. Remember – none of them [candidates and political parties] is interested in the kingdom of justice for all and peace (the peace of Christ – nonviolent resistance to evil) and life ever more abundantly for all.
4. Do not vote one issue … no matter what it is. There are 6.8 billion people in the world, nearly 2/3 of them living at subsistence level, in need of clean water, basic food, shelter, medicine, education, dignity, freedom from violence, the freedom to migrate and a hope for their children. There is also the destruction of the earth and the greed of the few/major nations like us and the G8 over-using natural resources and thinking only in terms of profit, nationalism/and a war that in the last 8 years has, on an average wasted over $800 billion a year on wanton destruction of Iraq (a country the size of New Jersey) and Afghanistan (already in the 11 century when we started bombing). Yet we do nothing in regards to Burma (Myanmar) the Sudan, Zimbabawe or any other country that is beset by dictators/military regimes, etc.
5. VOTE… If you don’t, then you are even more responsible for what happens. Not to choose is to choose – we are all accountable for what happens in this country.
6. Vote for the person who will think long term – Supreme Court justices, economics, and especially in regards to other countries, internationally. We have little or no respect around the world – because of torture, lies, Guantanamo, immigration practices, arrogance towards others, rendition of citizens, the ignoring of our own Constitution and laws and our inordinate living (consumption of oil, resources, food, etc.). At home – the housing, mortgage crisis – people need their homes back, they need universal medical insurance and education that is not tiered according to race/economics.
7. Pray, read the scriptures. Who would Jesus, in the power of the Spirit who calls God Our Father (all of us the beloved children of God, blessed and loved, no exceptions), vote for? And get involved with others. Make your choice. Look at and know what needs to be confronted and dealt with – the Middle East question of Jerusalem/Israel/Palestine, 2 states, the wall; the ongoing wars and how to get troops out and how to dialog so that war is not considered an option ever – no matter what. And look for integrity, honesty, truthfulness.
That’s it … in a nutshell. Each “rule” or thing to remember could be elaborated on with the principles of justice, social teaching and the gospel.