Political campaigns, local or national, have a way of bringing out the worst and the best in people participating in the political process. It is said that democracy is messy. Messy as it may seem, the right, duty and privilege to vote must not be negated or neglected.
Organizations like our own are often careful not to take sides in “political” debates. Some think we might be motivated by the tax exemption laws, fear of taking sides, or losing members because of controversy. There is another more important consideration and it is an ethical concern. Interfaith organizations such as The Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County and The Interfaith Peace Project are dedicated to fostering dialogue aimed at understanding the various points of view responsible people have on any given subject, the respect necessary to engage in fruitful dialogue, and responsibility all of us have for the common good of one another. Interfaith Councils are themselves composed of members whose viewpoints vary widely. All you would need to do is attend one of our meetings to discover that our disagreements can be intense. Usually we are better people after disputes are honestly shared and engaged. Agreement is not as important as mutual respect and the willingness to learn from one another.
The rhetoric of many current political campaigns is often hurtful, harmful and oftentimes as vulgar as it is inappropriate. Yet as the political climate is charged with passion, it gives us an opportunity to pause and reflect. We take this opportunity to share with you some thoughts in this most important moment in our Nation’s history:
- We must express gratitude to all those who responsibly and faithfully participate in the political process. We are especially grateful for politicians who sincerely seek to be the voice of those who have no voice.
- We must remember how we speak about an issue is as important as the issue itself.
- Sometimes we say and do things in the passion of the moment we might not otherwise do. Forgiveness and reconciliation must be the order of the day.
- Our passions must be expressed courageously, lovingly, honestly and responsibly.
- Reconciliation must be the order and, where possible, the ultimate Goal. Our Nation has a very wise doctrine embedded in its founding documents which we must all seek to honor as we engage in the political process. The rights of the minority must not be infringed upon by the tyranny of the majority.
The Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County and The Interfaith Peace Project encourage you to be faithful citizens as you consciously and conscientiously exercise your right and privilege to vote.
Rev. Will McGarvey
Executive Director of The Interfaith Council
of Contra Costa County
Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
Executive Director of The Interfaith Peace Project