Today is the day we choose who will lead our country into the future for the next four years. Many of us have agonized over this decision. I am not alone when I say that I will be happy when the decision is finally made, regardless of the outcome, and this election that has so bitterly divided us as a nation is over and done. For many of us, this election has been so particularly hard because there are no clear cut “good” candidates. All of the choices presented to us from the primaries to this present general election were and are deeply flawed. There seems to be only bad and worse; so here we are, yet again, voting for the proverbial lesser of two evils. Today we are presented with two candidates: one whose behavior and moral failings are despicable, explicit, and overt yet labeled “refreshing” and honest; and another whose questionable conduct is veiled in secrecy and deceit and offered with the nauseating caveat, “Well, nobody is perfect.” Many of us feel, that no matter what we get, we will be left with evil, and the real loser today is goodness, and all of us who are naive enough to believe in the fairy tale.
We recently watched the first season of ABC’s Once Upon A Time with the kids. Throughout this whole election, I have been reminded of the episode where Emma Swan runs for the office of Sheriff of Storybrooke. She has a conversation with her despondent son, Henry, during which he confides to her, “Good loses. Good always loses. Because good has to play fair. Evil doesn’t.” Emma later declares to Mary Margaret, “I want to show him that good can actually win.” As a parent, I want nothing less for my children.
No matter who we vote for, we all want to know that good will win in the end. But does being good matter anymore, if all the games are played with trickery and deceit? Is there a level playing field in sports when athletes use drugs to amp up and boost their performance? Does anyone stand a chance in making a difference through social justice and civil service if they aren’t a multi-billionaire? The good guys play fair, while the bad ones seem to get away with murder, proving the old adage wrong: Cheaters, in fact, do prosper. All the time.
It is easy to become jaded like Henry. I often wonder, am I setting my kids up to be eaten alive by the wolves of this world, by teaching them to be gentle and kind? It can feel like such a dog-eat-dog world. Am I setting them up for disappointment and heartbreak by teaching them to respond with goodness and hope?
I already voted a couple of weeks ago, and I found myself at home today, while everyone is voting happily at the polls, feeling quite curmudgeonly, googling George Carlin comedy routines about voting and politics! I am not here to tell you how to vote, or shame you for voting one way or the other. Lord knows, we have had enough of that garbage. We all want to be on the winning team, and I know that all of us want our good guy/girl to win in the end. In my quest and thirst for good triumphing over evil, I came up with this: Elect goodness in your heart. Every single day. No matter what happens. No matter who “wins” this election. You be good. You do good. You be a bearer of light in this world. Fight for justice. Fight for equality. Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. Love others. Do for them what you would have them do for you, without expecting anything in return. And ultimately, have hope. Our world will still turn, and tomorrow will come. Our lives will return to some semblance of normalcy after this is all over. Today we will choose a flawed human being to represent our country as commander-in-chief. But every day is election day for us, as we choose what kind of people we want to be, and what kind of world we want to pass on to our children. Make a difference in your local community. Give. Serve. Love. Include. Don’t give up and become cynical. There is still goodness in this world. And ultimately I do believe that good will win in the end. But we get to decide, and I am naive enough to believe that we play the biggest part.