Fewer signs, more tolerance

To the editor:

Everywhere you go these days one sees signs, blue, red and green, with names of politicians running for public office this November. In yards, on billboards, along country roads as well as major highways, some with slogans, others with pictures of what the candidate used to look like as well as current pictures, which, quite frankly, tend to be rather amusing — I’ve changed a great deal over the years as well.

I have been voting for close to five decades — do the math — and I wonder when something so private and personal became so very public (banners waving from vehicles, and flag poles) and personal. Now I can see planting a sign in your yard for a candidate who one knows personally — I’ve even done that a couple of times. Yet these days it seems we like choosing sides, right, left, conservative, liberal, socialist capitalist — well you get the point, and make no mistake about it those folks running want us to vote for them so they remind us of their qualifications as well as our American values.

One has to love it, what is it we value in this great nation of ours. Hard work, without a doubt, yet most of those folks haven’t done a hard day’s work their whole life or at least most of it. Our freedom, of course, we value our freedom and those who sacrificed to preserve it and those who continue to sacrifice. My own father served as a paratrooper in World War II and the Korean War, yet how many of them went to school to avoid serving or claimed they had a medical problem to avoid serving which is how we preserve the very freedom they want us to believe they value.

It seems these days of choosing sides, even God is brought into the mix — talk about bringing in the big guns. “I vote my values” the sign reads, to which one says Amen and I would say bullshit. We do vote our values, it’s just our values tend to correspond more to our making a good living for ourselves than meeting the needs of the strangers among us. When we begin to have greater concern for our pocketbooks than each other look out, we may need those guns we value so much. It seems as humans our values are connected directly to our fears and our prejudices and that’s where God seems to, you know, justify our stance.

It might be God is more concerned with our actual behavior than our list of professed values that, of course, God endorses. Really, God endorses some these characters, come on now who is fooling who? After five decades of this I’m convinced we were better off keeping our preferences private and personal. Maybe just maybe we could use fewer signs, fewer slogans, no banners and more tolerance, civility and humility then we might just reflect the grace that has so richly been bestowed upon us.

The Rev. Jeff Proya



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