Yesterday was Election Day 2022, and things did not go as expected. There was a lot of talk about how Republicans were going to voice their disapproval on this election, and it doesn't seem to be nearly the response everyone was excited about, including me. There's something special about being a part of a country that has the right to take a part in how we want our country to run, and the laws and politicians we want to be front and center of what our country is all about.
I walked into my voting place a few blocks from my home, and there was no line to my relief. A few smiling faces greeted me, and I remembered that these were all people who valued being a part of this election process and had their reasons for being there and doing their best to help me to complete my responsibility as a U.S. citizen. I remembered when my husband (boyfriend back then), his brother, and I had volunteered years ago at another voting place. I always leave my voting place feeling accomplished and blessed, wanting to encourage others to go vote as well.
I am aware of how polarized our country has become about politics, and how little value is perceived now to having meaningful and respectful conversations with those running for office against each other. Our country instead gathers in their respective political echo chambers and as a result, I believe this is why the Republican Party is surprised with the results tonight. It's possible to be overly confident in one's arguments, and having a ton of supporters, and yet miss out on the opportunity of better understanding where the other side is coming from and speaking to them with the truth, but also and just as important: with love and respect.
I see blindspots in the political party that I am a part of and have voted accordingly to ever since I could vote: the Republican Party. I believe my perspective has been shaped by the fact that I am the middle child, and that I am born from parents that are Mexican, and considered a minority group in this country. My upbringing has given me the experience that can help keep my conservative views grounded on humility (if I am intentional). It's so easy to get swept up with whatever rude conservative is popping up by the algorithm, and become lost in the rhetoric.
As a middle child, I have learned to try to help both of my siblings to come together and work things out. I also had to learn to play with both my older sibling and my younger sibling according to how their respective ages would be interested in doing so. I found myself being a "problem solver", a "team player", and sometimes a "leader". When I hear politicians on both sides claim they want unity in this country, the middle child in me starts to think of ways this would be possible. Unfortunately, politics just seem like a game of winning at any cost, and not so much about promoting unity during the election process. No opportunity is lost for the next election. No talk about working together as a country unless one side has won and wants the other side to do what they are pushing to accomplish.
As a Mexican-American and a woman, I can relate with the party that I don't vote for (the Democratic Party). I remember having to decide whether I would register as a Republican or Democrat. I found it difficult because in my mind, the Democratic side cared about issues having to do with my background relating to immigration, as well as how they expressed a passion for fighting for the betterment of women related issues (issues not related to abortion). However, the Republican Party was against abortion, and also held to other issues I agreed with. I decided to become a Republican, but I would not sever my knowledge of what it's like to be a minority in this country: a different kind of American. We all have different stories of how our families arrived to this country. We all have different experiences interacting with different Americans in different places of this country. It's important to value everyone's experiences, and not see one as more true than the other, but rather, accept that there are many things we can learn from each other to help our perspective be as informed and as accurate to reality as possible. This is crucial in the process of making up our mind about what is actually true and what isn't, and how we can be sensitive to people's experience as we communicate our differing beliefs or what we share in common. So here is my prayer, as a Mexican-American woman: I pray that God will provide political leaders that are after His own heart as was said about King David. Leaders that will pass laws that are pleasing to Him, and will shine the light on God, and not on themselves. That America will show the world how God is good, and set a good example for others to follow. I pray that we will all realize that we need God to save America and to lead it through people that fear Him, or that will come to Him and surrender to Him. That these leaders will be humble, kind, respectful, provide good reasons for their beliefs, and will debate the issues with God's grace, granting the validity of their opponents' arguments and correcting any contradictions or immorality argued that is attempting to pass as morality. Our country needs to talk about the things they agree about first, and then come back to the table, put the phones and social media down, look each other in the face, and with the love of God work to do what is good. Put downs, arrogance, poor communication skills, a lack of listening to truly understand are all things that are the status quo in this world, but dare we be different? Dare we obey God's command to be the light and salt of the world? Let's pray each day for our country and for God to raise these kind of leaders, and give this country wisdom to vote responsibly moving forward.