Tuesday, April 14, 2020


My thanks to the faithful reader who responded at length to yesterday’s post about why we elect judges. If the rest of you are still working on your answers, that’s fine; I won’t take off any points for lateness.

I happened upon an online discussion yesterday about voting by mail, in particular, the Special Election in District 7 to fill the seat held by the late Elijah Cummings. As I watched the familiar arguments unfold, I had an unusual epiphany.

It seems to me that the two dominant political parties start at the same place when it comes to voting but where each goes from there is indicative of their respective world views.

The statement might begin: Voting is so important that....

And one party finishes it like this: we must put in place careful restrictions in order to make sure that none of the unqualified and no bad actors can sully this important process.

The other party:... we must do whatever we can to remove barriers so that all citizens may participate in this important process.

Beneath it all, members of one party seems to believe that “if I am good at heart, my neighbor is likely to be the same.” The other party leans more towards, “I know I would do the right thing but I just can’t trust that other fella.” Is this one distinction the heart of all the differences between the two?

I wonder.

Warning: this is where the post wanders into unusual territory.

These differences put me in mind of how Holy Communion is viewed in different Christian denominations. For non-Christians: Communion is a re-enactment of the last supper that Jesus of Nazareth shared with his disciples.

The jumping off point here is: Receiving Communion is such a holy experience that...

In the Roman Catholic Church: ...you must be baptized and a member of our community of faith in order to receive it, so that you don’t receive without full and necessary faith and understanding.

In other Protestant denominations:...we welcome all to come to the table and receive its blessings with us.

Now, lest you think I have completely lost my mind, I am not suggesting that one political party is aligned with one particular religious denomination. But I am wondering if there is a deep difference at play here, one that causes some to look at the challenges of the world and say “yes, and” or “yes, but”.

I am not inviting any responses which bash specific political parties, or, for that matter, religious denominations. I welcome thoughtful responses to this seeming dichotomy. Can it ever be bridged? Do you think I’m on the wrong track altogether? Do you think there exists a possible world in which these two ways of thinking could be “better together”?

At the moment I am not feeling hopeful on that last front.

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