Shaking the Tree

First I shake the whole Apple tree, that the ripest might fall. Then I climb the tree and shake each limb, and then each branch and then each twig, and then I look under each leaf.
~Martin Luther

Any election day in a free country can seem like a free-for-all, with the loudest citizens shouting their personal opinions far and wide.  Yet today every individual, even the smallest and meekest, has the opportunity to have their say, quietly and alone– a pas de deux between their ballot and them.

This particular free-for-all has lasted for months.  There is now nearly universal desire to just get it done, shaking the electoral apple tree so hard that ripe and bitter and green fall to the ground.  We then settle in and cope with whatever harvest we have reaped with our votes.  Sometimes we get near perfect fruit; other times we get rotten to the core.

Some citizens vote down party lines only; the quality of the candidate matters not as long as they have the right party affiliation.  Other citizens turn over every leaf in detailed scrutiny of each candidate’s history and qualifications.

I truly had to cover my eyes as I voted for some candidates.  Neither felt like a worthy choice to represent a country founded on the principles of religious freedom and escape from the tyranny of government in the lives of citizens.   We are indeed a confused and too angry people, divided and divisive, all shaking the tree for all its worth to see what’s in it for us, threatening the life of the tree itself.

May tomorrow be a day when we set the differences aside, working together to make applesauce, blending it together for the ultimate good of all.

That will be the day.

Light and Shadow

In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don’t.
~Blaise Pascal

During intense election seasons like this one, I find myself seeking safety hiding under a rock where lukewarm moderates tend to congregate.   There is no political convention for us with rousing impassioned speeches or balloons falling on our heads.

Extremist views predominate simply for the sake of differentiating one’s political turf from the opposition.  There is no discussion of compromise, negotiation or collaboration as that would be perceived as a sign of weakness.  Instead it is “my way or the wrong way.”

I’m ready to say “no way,” as both sides are intolerably intolerant of the other.

The chasm is most gaping in any discussion of faith issues.  Religion and politics have become angry neighbors constantly arguing over how high to build the fence between them, what it should be made out of, what color it should be, should there be peek holes, should it be electrified with barbed wire to prevent moving back and forth, should there be a gate with or without a lock and who pays for the labor.   In a country founded on the principle of freedom of religion, there are more and more who believe our forefathers’ blood was shed for freedom from religion.

Give us the right to believe in nothing whatsoever or give us death. Perhaps both actually go together.

And so it goes.  Each election cycle brings out the worst in our leadership as facts are distorted, the truth is stretched or completely abandoned, unseemly pandering abounds and curried favors are served for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Enough already.

In the midst of this morass, we who want to believe still choose to believe.

There is just enough light for those who seek it.  No need to remain blinded in the shadowlands of unbelief.

I’ll come out from under my rock if you do.

In fact…I think I just did.