Tomorrow is the end of the election season in the United States. We will either have a new president or we will continue under the present administration. this election season has been unique to say the least. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic there have been rallies with people in close contact, many not wearing masks. In other places campaign rallies and town hall meeting have been virtual.
There have been instances of campaign buses being run off the road. Demonstrators are blocking the highways to ensure that people not make it to the polling places. People have been encouraged to watch the polls to make sure that everything is going “right.” People are still trying to decide who to vote for or whether to vote at all. While others are prepared to sit all day if necessary, to exercise their constitutional right to vote.
Our pastor has called for a 24-hour prayer vigil for our church from 7:00 PM November 2nd until 7:00 PM November 3rd. He has encouraged us throughout this season to exercise our right to vote. Exhorting us to be accountable citizens. He has spent time teaching us why voting is important and how as Followers of the Way we must do justice in this world. Our pastor is also leading the way as our church prepares snacks for those persons who will be standing in line to vote on tomorrow.
The congregation has received instruction on specific things to pray for during the vigil. Each congregant is asked to pray for one hour within the 24-hour period. We are to pray for
- God’s will to be done.
- Safety at the polls.
- For the hearts of leaders to be broken, filled with God’s love and God’s people to be revealed.
- The aftermath of the election
On yesterday I took time to pray and prepare for the vigil which begins tonight. I thought it important to think about what I would specifically be praying. I created an outline and listed the items for which I would be praying under each heading. Upon completing the outline, I observed that my heart is most concerned with the aftermath of the election.
It has been reported that some have said that if the candidate they want is not elected there will be violence. In response I will pray for the safety of all citizens and each elected official. Beyond that, my heart’s major concern is that after the election citizens will simply resign to their lifestyle and abandon the political process until the next “critical” election. I am equally concerned that citizens fail to realize that the work that must be done to improve our lives and our society must be done by the citizens. We cannot assume that elected officials will make the changes necessary to improve society where we live. Rather we must hold elected officials accountable for enacted laws that make it possible for us to exact the necessary changes.
Voting is important to the foundation of our democracy. Yet, democracy is much more than voting. Democracy is observing the condition of society and having the construct to make changes to that society for the betterment of that society. Democracy requires continuous conversation, continuous movement, and continuous restructuring. Democracy is challenging and important work that is done by citizens every day at every level.
If you have already voted, thank you. If you plan to vote on tomorrow, make a plan. If you have decided not to vote, that too is your choice. Whichever applies to you, my hope is that you decide to activate your power to work to restructure democracy for the continued benefit of the citizens. Voting is not the only thing that has to be done.