October 10, 2016

I haven’t written one of these in a while… not sure why.  I probably don’t need to say that most of these have a “religious” bent to them.  That will not be the case today.  Let me begin by recalling two stories.

Many years ago when I was still young my father accused me of something… that I did not do.  It was very traumatic for me because I had no way of proving my innocence.  I didn’t know who did “it” but I had the advantage of knowing it wasn’t me.  The events were much more complicated and painful than I will recount but the short of it was this; eventually my father was confronted with the reality that it might not have been me and very well could have been someone else in our family.  He “resolved” the situation by saying this, “This will never be spoken of again.”  I can remember being so angry because there was no possibility of ever proving my innocence.  To the best of my knowledge my father went to his grave not knowing that I had told him the truth.  Hold that thought.

Many of you will remember back in the Clinton administration when there was a struggle over how to deal with gays in the military.  I could be wrong but I think it was illegal to be in the service if one was openly homosexual.  Eventually Clinton decided on a policy using the phrase “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”  I AM NOT taking a position here on that particular policy but only on the intent of the phrase.  I believe the idea was to try and keep the peace in a very volatile, tricky situation.

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” is not very far removed from “This will never be spoken of again.”  They are both inadequate ways of dealing with painful, seemingly irresolvable circumstances.  Naturally there are other ways that both of these issues could have been handled but not without the lid blowing off.  So in both cases the middle road was taken, i.e., “Let’s just not talk about it anymore.”

I, like many of you, am deeply concerned about the direction in which our country and our world are headed.  The election coming up in a month or so is obviously critical… and disgusting.  I, like many of you, have been in conversations about the two candidates and I have seen more than my share of news articles and social media posts.  Many of the posts are angry, vitriolic, divisive, untrue and crude… on both sides.  Here is my concern.  One of those two is going to win.  In either case, the American people lose.  But what about those who lose friends or family members because of the rancor and hateful positions taken by average Americans.  What about the destruction done to relationships because of the caustic environment created by this election.  What about that?

Here is my inadequately frustrating suggestion…  Just like the two “strategies” mentioned above, this is not a great solution, but it seems to be the only nontoxic option; STOP TALKING ABOUT IT!  Do you really think anyone is going to change their mind at this point because further hate is being tossed about?  Really?!  Do what you must in the polling booth but stop the hate.  Just stop it.  And what I find to be really bothersome is that some of the most venomous people claim to know Jesus.

You would do a world of good if you didn’t mention this election one more time until it’s over.  But so many of us can’t look away from a car crash so I know that we will not look away from the viciousness of this election.  That is more tragic than words can express.

Like many of you I grew up in a time when it was considered rude to ask someone who they were voting for… what happened to that?  I don’t know either.

So I have two mantras over the next month or so.  1.  This will never be spoken of again.  And 2.  Don’t ask, don’t tell.  When this craziness is over I hope I will still have my friends.  I will not allow the two people running for the highest office in the land to destroy my friendships along with the country.  I am done talking about this.

I’m not speaking and I’m not telling.  Do what you must.

Pass this along if it makes sense to you.