Long election lines are being reported across our country today. This was certainly true of my polling place as I went to vote early this morning. It took a while to finally vote and I really didn't enjoy standing outside in the cold. But, this is a good thing because it shows that many, throughout our land, are exercising and enjoying this wonderful privilege that comes with citizenship. Sometimes I think we need to be reminded of the tremendous blessing that is ours through our right to vote...
I can remember, 45 years ago, eating lunch with students in the cafeteria at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and enjoying a rather "heated" political discussion. Some of the comments were not complimentary towards the current president and other comments were equally derogatory regarding his opponent. In the midst of our conversation a student from Uganda spoke up. (This was a student who had lived through the policies of the Idi Amin dictatorship which had brought persecution and suffering upon many.) When this young student spoke he said, "I can't believe the comments I'm hearing here today. In my country one could be arrested and shot for uttering the words that have been spoken about your political leaders. You people in America do not appreciate enough the blessings of free speech that you enjoy." For a moment there was nothing but silence at our table, and as the "political discussion" gradually continued there was a definite improvement in both spirit and tone.
Political debate is healthy for our nation. It is, however, sad to see acts of violence and vandalism that sometimes accompany our political discourse. It is also sad when friendships are torn asunder due to political differences. So, my prayer today is that as many as possible will exercise their freedom to vote; but also that, regardless of the outcome of the election, somehow we will realize that our country is pretty evenly divided along political lines and that at some point we are going to have to learn to work together in order to move our country forward. Today, I hope that all can proudly join me in wearing the sticker that reads....
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.