As we prepare to cast ballots in November for scores of offices and propositions, I offer these questions as a way of awakening our minds to the implications of our personal and political choices in the days ahead. I have deep convictions on what and who to vote for, and even a cursory reading of my work will hopefully convince the thoughtful that we need significant changes in the national direction.
Rather than repeat partisan opinions or offer direct recommendations, I present these queries for our reflection.
Here we go:
Democrat or Republican, Green or Libertarian: Are we prepared to help create a community and a nation that produces more than it consumes and earns more than it spends?
Are we willing to sacrifice so that we pass on a flourishing economy, educational system and social service network and sufficient national defense to the next generation, with less debt that we have today?
Are we willing to volunteer some time to serve the community apart from government incentives or programs - just because it is right?
Will we help people move from dependency to productivity through wise policies, new opportunities and personal interest in our neighbor?
Will we be friends with people of diverse cultural identity and political ideology, finding ways to work together instead of only exchanging polarizing comments?
Will we start a new trend of participation in local government by turning off our computers and actually attending city council or county supervisors meetings and speaking our minds?
Regardless of our views, will our friends and opponents speak well of our character, demeanor and service for others?
Are we ready to generously support our faith communities with our participation and our resources?
Can we find it in our hearts to support the arts that bring beauty to our world and perhaps participate in sponsoring opportunities for creativity to flourish?
When no one is looking or listening, are we praying for all in authority, asking the Lord to bless, bestow wisdom and redeem past mistakes? Or are we cursing under our breath?
When we passionately disagree with someone, can we stay on the issue itself or will we lapse into personal attack and unfounded generalizations?
Will we tell ourselves the truth about our national plight - that we are both part of the problem and the solution?
Are we able to reaffirm the genius of our Constitution, while avoiding the twin errors of making it divinely infallible or subject to the whims of ideological currents?
While working for safe borders and reasonable immigration policies, will we treat each person we meet with dignity and respect?
I hope to add to this list as the election draws near. We can create wealth of all kinds and prepare for a better future if we place the welfare of our children ahead of our own wants. Paradoxically, when we serve others without thought of reward, our lives will be happier, richer and full of lasting pleasure.
Let's start answering, "Yes" each day we are given breath.