Updated: Nov 17, 2020
This is a day of choices. More accurately, given early voting, this has been nearly a month of choices. (Or does it feel like a year?) There's something humbling about the voting process. You may have sent in campaign contributions. You may have written postcards, or made phone calls. You may have helped get someone to the polls. Hopefully, you have cast your own ballot (or are in the process of doing so). But at this point, (aside from all the poll workers, bless them!) all that most of us can do now is sit back and wait for the results to come in.
Whatever the outcomes will be in the pending races today, tomorrow will bring new choices. There will be the everyday choices, the mundane choices -- between cereal or eggs, meeting over Zoom or by cell, making that Amazon purchase or masking up and heading out to a local business to buy something the old-fashioned way.
And then there are those profound choices which face us as a nation, as communities, as individuals. They are multiple given the array of challenges that are before us. But one choice seems particularly urgent at this time. What will we do, individually and collectively, to grab hold of, and then uproot, the invasive scourge of racism in our country? So many have labored so long and at such sacrfice in this work over the years. But the basic question remains before us as a society. Do we in fact believe that all people are created equal and are endowed with certain inalienable rights? Do we believe each person is a child of God? If so, the time has arrived for a sustained, unwavering effort -- a renewed campaign -- for racial justice and healing.
Regardless of the outcome of the Presidential election, consequential as that is, the chief focus of this antiracism work resides with each of us. It will require us to make daily choices in our personal interactions, in our work or school settings, in our faith communities, wherever we gather and may have influence.
One thing I missed last week as I slid my ballot into the official Maryland voting collection box was receiving my sticker. You know the one -- that "I voted!" sticker that poll workers hand to you after you emerge from the voting machine and you stick on your lapel or windbreaker. If I could wave a wand, I would make it possible for each person to receive a sticker emblazoned with "I choose racial justice!" after each interaction or step taken to confront racism, promote equity and lift up the dignity of each person. Imagine seeing people festooned with these little stickers of encouragement as you passed them on the street, testifying to their choices made that day.
The gospels of Matthew and Mark each tell the story of a leper who approaches Jesus, seeking to be healed. The leper says a striking thing. "Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.” Jesus extends his hand to touch the leper, and then replies, "I do choose. Be made clean!” (Matthew 8:2-4)
If we choose, we can rid this nation -- over time -- of racism.
The polls are open for a few more hours. As I wait, perhaps like you, a question emerges.
What will we choose tomorrow?