For my entire adult life I have been an avid voter. An unapologetic adherent to the belief that voting is a sacred privilege that all Americans should cherish and exercise.
This year, for the first time ever, I doubted the fact that my vote meant anything. That my vote was important. That my vote was necessary.
But I overcame that doubt and raced to the polls a mere five minutes before closing time, held my nose (if you don’t believe that, ask the poll workers who ushered me through the process) and performed my patriotic duty.
I am dismayed by what has happened to the country I love. Dismayed at the hate and division that has overcome our sense of patriotism and has torn us into warring factions, blinded by party loyalty, oblivious to the pain and suffering of the lesser among us, to the downtrodden.
I long for all Americans to adhere to God’s teachings that “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did it to Me.”
Instead, too many today villify the least of these brothers of Him. They hate people of color, immigrants, people who don’t think like they do, people who don’t ascribe to their beliefs.
The hater-in-chief, of course, is our president. I know that’s not a popular opinion in a county where 82% of voters helped elect Donald Trump president of the United States, but it’s my belief.
The sad thing is that I am reluctant to share my opinion because having an unpopular opinion these days brings not just disagreement, but hostility, anger, debasing comments on social media.
I fondly recall the days when disagreement was not so acrimonious. But when people disagree with our country’s leader and he responds with mean spirited insults, how can you expect his legion of followers to respond with respectful disagreement?
I long for a return someday to normal, more civil political discourse.
But, alas, I fear my vote doesn’t mean anything.