The Election-Eve Prayer Vigil

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There was an Election Day-eve prayer-vigil for the nation tonight, and I was there. I am praying for the healing of a nation that seems, in many ways, broken. You may ask me what I mean by calling it broken: don’t we have food on the grocery-store shelves, intact roads, a stable currency, and public education? Yes, we still do. But there’s been widespread erosion of public trust in our dominant institutions – government, the media, the electoral system – and it’s infected our trust in our neighbor as well. We don’t trust the once-relied-on sources of truth to tell the truth. We don’t trust the traditional guardians and promoters of the common good to care about the common good, or if they do, to understand what it consists of. My neighbor to the East thinks the scientists are lying when they talk of climate change. My neighbor to the West thinks the elections are rigged. To the North, my neighbor thinks the economy is rigged, and hoards gold against the day that the riggers spring the trap on the rest of us. To the South, my neighbor hoards ammunition against the day that everyone becomes an enemy. I have my own mistrusts. The situation is not helped by the many people who, whether on orders from above or in the interests of their stockholders, routinely tell lies and bend the rules in order to make sure that the “right” thing happens: the crude-oil or fracked-gas pipeline goes through, the new pesticide gets approval, the for-profit prison continues to get an uninterrupted supply of able-bodied inmates. Fortunately, the one authority-figure I trust remains in authority, and I vote for that fair, merciful, always-truthful, and almighty Person every day when I say, “Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done.”

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2 Responses to “The Election-Eve Prayer Vigil”

  1. treegestalt Says:

    What we’ve got isn’t “erosion of trust” in our dominant institutions. There may still to be people striving to remain trustworthy in even the worst of these; but the institutions themselves have stopped functioning in any way that would justify public trust.

    The one government you can trust — the real New Deal — is the one you’re agreeing to by that prayer.

    The “practical” institutions just keep doing everything they possibly could to show us how utterly impractical it is to put our faith in them.

  2. John Jeremiah Edminster Says:

    Thank you for this important observation! Yes, the system continues to work because of so many trustworthy individuals that continue to do what they’re supposed to do, God bless them all, whether the security camera is watching them or not! That’s how I know that when I take two tablets from the bottle marked “aspirin” they’ll act like aspirin and not cyanide. But with the passage of the so-called DARK Act this summer (see http://www.alternet.org/food/why-gmo-labeling-bill-obama-just-signed-law-sham-and-national-embarrassment), I no longer feel trust at the grocery store. But this decline of institutional trustworthiness didn’t happen overnight, nor are we the first culture that this has happened to. Nor will we be the first culture to receive correction. The important things will be that we recognize the shocks as correction and not chaos, and that we take loving care of one another as our society reels from each shock.

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