The election is next week.
Policy and government is important. Using your voice in alignment with your giftings and values is important. Standing up for those unable to stand up on their own is important. I have nothing unique to say about any candidate—nothing you haven’t heard a thousand times in a thousand other voices. I don’t think anything I say on that front would change your mind, and I don’t need to add to the noise. And that, friends, is the last you’ll hear on that from me.
What I do have something to say about is fear.
It is rampant.
In many cases it is justified.
That doesn’t make it right.
I’m watching folks across the political spectrum—from officials to neighbors—employ fear in an effort to spur action and win ballots. There are plenty of retorts here, ranging from arguments that the ends justify the means to that the fear is real and people should be afraid. Hear me out: I am not saying you have no reasons to feel fear or concern or anger; I’m saying that there will always be reasons for fear, and it is only a valid, effective motivator in *super* short spurts. Times like running away from an immediate source of danger, or, for example, times when you want to motivate someone to vote.
The issue with fear as motivation, however, is that it pervades; it overstays it’s welcome and creeps in to more than you realize.
Know this: this fear is manipulation, no matter who it is coming from, or how justifiable it seems.
The incentives to stir up fear are powerful, and as a favorite professor of mine would often say, incentives change behaviors. There are people and forces who profit off of your fear; they know this and the spin-up is intentional. Reassurances rarely make the 2020 news cycle. They rarely win two-party elections. The thing about fear and manipulation is that it uses partial truths. It wouldn’t be effective otherwise. If the lies were all completely outlandish, you’d be unaffected. There has to be just enough truth there to make you think, “Maybe. The worst could happen.”
But here is hard, make-you-want-to-argue-truth: you cannot be in peace and in fear at the same time.
Peace is not passivity, peace is not niceness, peace is not agreement with injustice. Peace is a place of rest, of wisdom, of response rather than reaction. Peace is a place of steadiness from which to serve the world.
This week, choose your candidates, choose your values, choose your hopes, choose where and when to engage, and please, in the midst of the circus around you, choose peace.
Question how you’re feeling:
what are you taking in?
What is feeding your mind, heart, soul and relationships?
Question what you’re being told:
what incentives are setting before those from whom you get information?
What biases lie behind the words?
What value is there to be found, even in perspectives that stir you up?
Question the fear.
There is plenty being sold.
Please don’t buy it.