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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Thoughts While Raking Leaves on Election Day

The trees are almost bare.  Every day I try to rake and fill five wheelbarrows to take to the curb for pickup.  Today I did 9 or 10.  I lost track while thinking about the election and memories of other elections.

My first memory is of driving to school with my childhood friend and learning that her parents were Democrats!  They were voting for Adlai Stevenson and not Dwight Eisenhower.  As everyone else I knew including my parents said "I Like Ike," I was quite horrified.

Then it was John Kennedy and Richard Nixon.  Some in our community were worried that Kennedy would do whatever the Pope said.  We suspected my dad, in his secret ballot, may have voted for Kennedy because he said he was a very smart man.

In 1968 I walked to our voting place in Grand Rapids with a good friend, also a spouse of a seminarian.  She voted for Humphrey; I voted for Nixon.  We left feeling amused that we had cancelled each other out.

My next vote was in Massachusetts when I voted for McGovern and we were the only state to do so.  Not so long after that Nixon had to resign.

A few years later it was North Carolina where I campaigned with baby Dan on my back for James Hunt in his race against "Senator No," Jesse Helms. It was a cold and wet day.   Hunt lost and Dan got sick.  I also campaigned for the Equal Rights Amendment and had a great t-shirt that said "Men of quality are for women of equality."  I stopped wearing it when the men at our local ABC store (liquor) were too eager to read the words on my bosom.

I have split my ticket on occasion but have voted for a Democrat at the head of the ticket ever since that first election.  I don't remember being as concerned about winning or losing before--with the exception of my fear of Sarah Palin being a heartbeat away from the Presidency--as I am this year. I cannot imagine Donald Trump with his vindictiveness, mockery of others, and foul mouth being President.  He has preyed on the misogyny and racism of far too many in our country.

  I have been angry at relatives who have posted untruths on Facebook, sometimes from fake news sites that have not been checked.  I have been saddened about those who vote one issue--abortion--and those who use the phrase "pro-abortion" instead of "pro-choice."   I  told a phone interviewer that I was "pro-life" and voting for Clinton.  She ended the call politely but abruptly.   I fight the urge to argue on Facebook and have sent a couple private messages asking relatives to check their sources.  I got no responses to those requests.

Yesterday, the young lady I am tutoring was wondering if she could read well enough to read a ballot.  We talked about voting and she asked for reassurance, "Now, the Repulicans, they are the Christians, right?"  She said that was what she had always been taught and was eager for me to tell her why I thought Democrats could be Christians too.  We had a good chat. I don't know if she voted or if she did, who she voted for.  Her perspective made me despair. I was in tears driving home.

In several hours, we may know who will be our next President.  I hope it will be a clear decision. I am hoping and praying it will be Hillary Clinton.  I am also hoping and praying that if it is Clinton, Donald Trump's supporters will not object with violence as some have threatened.

God help us.  Christ have mercy on us.

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