The Day After the Election

I can’t stop thinking about Wednesday, November 9th: the day after millions of Americans will have cast our ballots, voted our values, and–after an election season that nearly did us in–we’ll at last know who our 45th President will be. The question that grips me is this: after election day, then what?     

Although I’m not a United Methodist, I am praying now that I can live deeply into the wisdom of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, who in 1774 offered this spiritual and oh-so-pragmatic counsel: “I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them 1) to vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy, 2) to speak no evil of the person they voted against, and 3) to take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that had voted on the other side.”

It's one thing to hold a value and then vote it; far more difficult is to give the ideals that inspire and inform my vote consistent shape and substance after election day. 

Wesley’s words are important but they are not nearly enough, I remind myself.

The values that will lead me to vote for one candidate over another on November 8thare values that need to not only be voiced but embodied the day after the election–and in the months and years to follow.

Stating the obvious: it’s one thing to hold a value and then vote it; far more difficult is to give the ideals that inspire and inform my vote consistent shape and substance after election day.       

The Interfaith Force for Good Commitment that many individuals, faith communities, non-profits, and organizations in Colorado have been pledging themselves to this year reminds me that holding fast to values of religious tolerance, justice, and equality is only one part of the equation. Acting on these values is the necessary complement, especially in a time in American history when so many difficult issues and realities confront us.     

Knowing that I am standing with thousands of others in this great state who not only share my values but who have, by signing on to the Interfaith Force for Good, committed to acting upon these values strengthens my resolve to live my values in ways great and small.  Borrowing from Mahatma Gandhi, the day after I cast my ballot is the day I resolve anew to “be the change [I] wish to see in the world.”    

No matter who our next President is, I know I will have my values-based work cut out for me. But I also know I won’t be doing this alone–and this reality truly makes all the difference.

Rev. Karen Winkel 

Ordained in the United Church of Christ, Rev. Karen Winkel is the founding pastor of Community Spirit UCC in Montrose, CO.