I'm in the States this week, and I happened to catch a show on the radio about a new program that is catching on in South Carolina called The Welcome Table, a series of interactive discussions to open up the dialogue between whites and blacks on the subject of racism, with the goal of reconciliation. They were interviewing a fellow South Carolinian, and they asked her why she was participating in the Welcome Table. And she said:
"My mama told me that I should leave every place I go a little better than the way I found it."
What a wise mama that was! I say, bless her heart. It occurred to me that her mama's words are a pretty good philosophy to live by. What if everyone did this one simple thing? What if we resolved every morning to contemplate, with our every action:" Am I leaving the world a little bit better place?". I picture a world that is blossoming and blooming and expanding, instead of the sorry one when we've got now.
I'm thinking about this, on the cusp of the moment when we have the honor and privilege of voting in the presidential election. But this is not a normal election year. What most folks I know and are saying is, they don't much like either of the choices. And what different and divisive choices they are.
I don't much like either of them myself. So how does one decide how to cast their vote? I propose that Mama's words are as good as any as a criteria for choosing your candidate.
All three candidates are flawed, and in major ways. But which one has tried, in spite of those flaws, to make the world a better place? Strived for peace, and equality? Which has been kind and polite to their fellow humans, championed the rights of minorities, of women, and of the less fortunate among us? Which has a sense of decorum and manners necessary to represent our country to the world? Which candidate has the calm demeanor and experience to deal with the frightening world around us?
Worldwide there is a trend toward nationalism, and you certainly see it in this election. You see it in France with the rise of the deplorable Marine le Pen, in England with Brexit, in all of Europe. Certainly in Russia, and in an especially terrifying way, in the Middle East. In difficult and frightening times, we as humans tend to turn inward, to become protective and suspicious. We close ranks, narrow our minds, we withdraw from the world. We protect our own and forget the rest. We build walls instead of bridges. History tells us that excessive nationalism has one result: world war and aggression.
On November 8 you and I have not a small but an exceptionally large opportunity to change this trend. By looking deep into our hearts and souls and minds and casting a vote for what we believe will not just make our little world, but all the world, a better place. Please take this opportunity and VOTE, to make your voice heard. Bon courage to us all.
FAVORITE READS: My friend Sandi is always reading the best books that are au courant. This week she recommends A Paris Affair, about the hidden lives and illicit desires of those romantic French. Sounds like just the escape we need this week!