What Can I Do?
In this recent season of unrest, I’ve felt the need to consider (and reconsider) my various “callings” more and more. With all the upheaval—COVID, racial injustice, the economic downturn, the election—I’ve felt a sense that I need to be doing more. But when I think about the ways, they often seem so trivial.
In hearing that the country was in desperate need of poll workers because the pandemic was forcing older volunteers to stay home, I went down to my local county office and asked about working the polls. It turned out that those positions were already filled in my county, but they suggested I contact my political party’s office to see if they needed more poll greeters. These are the folks who hand out slate cards with the list of their party’s candidates. So, I decided to take a few poll greeting shifts during early voting and on election day.
I’m told that “poll greeters can lead to a 5-7% edge for their party.” I’m guessing that figure is: 1. optimistic and 2. applies more to local races than it does to the presidential race. So, I thought to myself:
Why am I going to spend my precious time standing out there trying to get reluctant strangers to take a slate card when I have plenty of other things I could be doing at home? Is there any meaning to what I’m doing?
Here’s what I came up with. Though I don’t think handing out slate cards is going to change many (or any) minds about who they want in the White House, I want to be able to remind my neighbors that we are more alike than they think. You see, I live in a rural place where the majority vote differently than I. In this time of bitter political divisiveness, I hope my presence will in some way say:
Hi friend. I care about you and I care about our community. I’m not the villain the media you consume makes me out to be (and vice versa). I’m your neighbor. I want many of the same things as you, like for this pandemic to end, our local businesses and farms to thrive, good schools, etc.
If things get really bad between November 3rd and January 20th, I can only hope we remember each other’s humanity. If I start to lose track of this, I know what I’ll do. I’ll turn off the news, get off social media and go talk to some real-life people—perhaps my friendly neighbors of a different political persuasion (with at least 6-feet between us and wearing masks, of course). We’re all in this together, folks.