Monday, November 7, 2016

A Word to My American Friends on the Eve of the Election

To all my friends in the United States:

     Although I am a US citizen with the right to vote, I have chosen not to do so. After thirty years of living in Canada and the choice twenty years ago to become a Canadian citizen to be able to vote for the future of my children, I do not believe it is proper for me, as someone who now identifies himself as a Canadian and who travels on a Canadian passport, to do so. But I do have a point of view and, to the dismay of some of my friends, I have chosen to express this on Facebook. I do not retract those views, but I do regret the discomfort these views have caused for some.

     This presidential campaign has sorely tested the bonds of affection that hold together the people of the United States. In part this testing has arisen from the nature of a political campaign that has been coloured by attacks, some spurious, some more serious, on character of the candidates rather than the discussion of ideas and policies. As a debater in an earlier part of my life, I know the difference between a debate designed to lay differing views before the public and a debate designed primarily to give a platform to fire barbs at one's opponents.

     It has not been helped by the candidates themselves. Neither the Republican nor the Democratic presidential candidate has been able to offer a vision for the United States that unifies. Both have 'baggage' which will taint the victory of one or the other. Both have opened wounds that will divide the United States in the years to come.

     So, my friends, I ask you, when you vote tomorrow as I hope you will, to vote for the candidate who inspires your 'better angels'. The whole world is watching you and your vote matters to your neighbours to the north and to the south, to the east and to the west. For better or worse, ours is a mutually dependent world. While it has been said that all politics is local, I venture to ask you to think globally even as you vote locally.

     As an Anglican Christian and an ordained priest, I have kept you in my prayers daily. Those prayers will only increase today and tomorrow. When I return home tomorrow after a late afternoon meeting, I shall begin my own vigil. I shall be watching how your vote will influence the future of my chosen country as well as the country in which I was raised.

     Whatever the outcome, you remain my friends and you will be held in my prayers. Whatever the outcome, I hope that you will be agents of reconciliation and unity so that all God's children may be free.

     May God the Author of all sustain you. May God the Word incarnate give you hope even in the midst of fear. May God the Spirit bestow wisdom to discern a path towards the promised reign of justice and peace.

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