Voting in the US presidential election takes place—or, more realistically, concludes—tomorrow. Messages about voting have inundated our lives. More people are voting early than ever before, but every vote matters. If you haven’t yet voted, I trust you plan to do so tomorrow.
It’s also critical to understand that this political process won’t be over tomorrow. With all the mail-in voting, everything won’t be counted by tomorrow night (even though many politicians are going to court to try to stop everyone’s vote from counting). As a nation, we need to step back from our “immediacy” mindset and let the ballot-counting work get done—all of it—carefully and accurately. We need to resist calls for anything that damages our democratic process.
Four years ago, while I was discouraged after the election, I certainly didn’t imagine the depth of lawlessness we would be living through today. But I did believe that love was the answer and that taking the long view would be key to spiritual survival. We still need to take the long view. My racial equity and justice reading has taught me that our nation has endured numerous threats to both democracy and justice before. Sometimes equity has triumphed; sometimes it has been beaten down, lynched, and suffered serious setbacks.
But none of that is the end of the story. Love resists, persists, and will prevail in the long term. Jesus accepted the hard realities of his political situation. He didn’t advocate rising up against the occupying Roman soldiers (although he did have revolutionaries amongst his followers, Simon the Zealot being the most obvious). Instead, he advocated for smaller steps, like going the second mile and loving our neighbors, regardless of the signs in their front yards.
America doesn’t live or die in one day, or one election season. Our role as faithful people is to live our faith, proclaim God’s love, one person at a time. How will you do that today, and tomorrow, and in the days ahead?