When you’re away for most of October in a very important election year, the mail really stacks up.
When I picked up a month’s worth this past week, I was handed a small box containing just a couple of relevant items, while the rest was a stack of campaign mailers a few inches thick.
I was quickly reminded of that image from The Onion a few years ago humorously depicting a plow truck keeping the roads clear of campaign signs.
As I was leaving the post office, I noticed one of the recycling bins in the main lobby was stuffed full of them. Plopping this mountain of mail on my passenger’s seat, I felt so astonished – and so depressed – by the amount of paper, ink, time, attention, and money devoted by each campaign to each of these mailers. By the little evidence I’d just seen, it seemed certain that very few of these mailers went out the door with their recipients. And I wonder – of those that did, how many were read or even noticed before getting tossed into the recycle bin or the wood stove? My mind zoomed out, trying to calculate all the mailboxes in my town, and county, and state… How much is any of it truly moving the needle?
So much waste. And so much sensationalism in the language. It’s exhausting!
Picking up the phone has been no solace lately, either. I’ve been receiving at least one call a day from someone named ‘Potential Spam’ or ‘No Caller ID’, no doubt wondering if or how I will vote on Tuesday.
The texts have been far more frequent. Being registered as ‘Undeclared’, I receive them from each end of the political spectrum. So-and-so is destroying America! or So-and-so will destroy America! One text urged me to text three friends right away and remind them to vote. Another one sent a slight shiver down my spine, addressing me by my name, referencing my physical address, and telling me that ‘public records suggest you may not have voted yet.’
Rest assured, spammers of the world – I plan to vote on Tuesday, because I want to live in a world in which everyone who is able to vote not only exercises that right, but who cares about that right being protected for everyone, even – especially – for those with whom we disagree.
And all the while, as the mailers and calls and texts keep arriving, I’m longing to experience the healing of divisions; the honoring of everyone’s humanity and dignity; a shared willingness to listen; the prioritizing of love and reason; a shift in every heart and mind towards kindness and compassion; widespread, unabashed acknowledgement of our interconnectedness; a commitment to right relations with this beautiful world and all who share it.
May it be so.