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Our responses do not end in a ballot checkbox

By Adam Wright | Student body vice president

Photograph provided by Michael Vadon

Our votes and the candidates on the ballot are not the only ones who must carry our voices. Photograph provided by Michael Vadon.

I have heard voices crying out from campus and beyond, and as a Christian community, we cannot keep dismissing them. If I’ve found anything true during this election season, it is that people want to be known. This isn’t exactly a new desire or anything, but over the past year, events have sown a lot of fear in the hearts and minds of the American people: the fear that if your candidate fails, your voice and hopes go with them.

Here’s a slogan that was thrown around a lot during this election season to mobilize a complacent populace: “Vote! Make your voice be heard and vote!” The posters, commercials, actors, TV personalities and extended family members on Facebook screamed this.

Sometimes we forget that our votes and the candidates on the ballot are not the only ones who must carry our voices. No, that responsibility always falls on ourselves, and that burden is heavy.

The end of the election will not be the end of our voices. We did not cast them away when we hit the submit button at the DMV or when we licked the envelope for an absentee ballot that may not have reached the polls on time. Our voices and the power that goes with them are still ours. The issues do not stop here, and our responses do not end in a checkbox next to a name.

Be warned: the unlimited power of God and his sovereign, omnipotent reign does not afford you the right to stand by in complacency. Our voices are still needed; it is only the conversation that has changed.

And because the conversation has changed, we need to listen to each other. This attitude should go without saying, but often isn’t adopted. What good is a voice that speaks above all others, unwilling to “stoop” to others’ ignorance? What good is a voice that diminishes the experiences of other human beings? One that puts people down? We cannot belittle the pain people are feeling just because we don’t feel that same pain. We must make sure those who feel scared, hurt and ignored also feel profoundly loved.

To anyone who feels unloved, abandoned, fearful or hurt from the results of this election: I offer you my voice. I offer you my strength and mind, and while I know that doesn’t include much, it’s all I have. I offer you my ears, and I will truly listen to you when you feel like no one else will. I offer you my hands to help you carry the burdens you may have to bear—hands ready to work whenever you are ready to begin. I offer you any wisdom God may have granted me, if I have any to share in the first place. I offer you my heart, to tell you with utmost sincerity that I love you, again and again, until one day you may believe it. And I offer you my prayers, that you will find many more who will be willing to do the same.

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