Thanking the Candidates, All of Them

Those who read and know me understand that my politics tend toward the cynical. Especially during election season. At Mass today, my wonderful pastor broke through to me in the way that good priests do from time to time. He changed my attitude a little.

His voice and demeanor carried a heavy, languished sense of relief. Confusion, too. He’s told me about how elections wear on him because he finds the candidates and their parties to be such imperfect options for Catholics. He doesn’t understand the binaries of American political ideologies. He’s Croatian, so he does know a thing or two about communism and aggressive politics. Politics with teeth.

Anyhow, his homily today began with a haunting sense of defeat. He looked tired and seemed to carry a lot of weight. Burdened. Gethsemane on his mind. The homily felt like a general telling his troops they were all going to die in battle. But out of that yoked spirit, flowed hope and gratitude.

He said something like “look… no matter what happens today, let’s be grateful for all the time and work the candidates have put into this race. No, not just the big federal ones, I’m thinking of the local and state politicians who are serving and giving us options today. They take lots of time from their lives and families and that is part of being a servant. Let’s be thankful to them for that. Thank God for them all, win or lose.”

These simple words cut into me and drew blood. I won’t wring my hands again, baring my soul and sins. That routine gets old and it’s just another form of vanity.

My pastor is right. We should be thankful for the fact that some people actually give a shit. I think that those who don’t care actually do more than we think, but the ones who run for office and work at polls and vote are not doing all that, at least primarily, for anything other than the best aspirations, hopes, and dreams.

No, I don’t share almost any of their desires for the future, but I cannot discredit them for their work and witness. Nor can you.

I learned that at Mass today.

To all the candidates I’ve treated rather poorly: I still think you deserve it, most of it anyway, but THANK YOU nonetheless for putting yourself in the game and sacrificing your time and comfort. I wish you peace and happiness, win or lose.

Let no beautiful thing go without gratitude, even on election day.


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