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Speak Up
STORIES ABOUT POLITICS, COMPETING OPINIONS, AND FINDING THE COURAGE TO BE HEARD

I STILL REMEMBER the first time I voted.

Our entire first grade class lined up single file to go downstairs and down the hall to the school library, where we were each handed paper ballots.

Although I knew that my vote for either presidential candidate wouldn’t affect the eventual president of the United States, I could still sense the gravitas of the event as I slid the paper into the punch card voting machine.

It was also the last time I voted.

In the past 10 years since I’ve been legally eligible to cast a vote, I’ve never voted. Not for presidential elections, not for state representatives, and not even for city officials.

It’s not so much that I don’t care about how our society and its systems work, or for the people who are entrusted to make those decisions — I think that politics are extremely necessary and that we need good female and male leaders.

I’ve, unfortunately, fallen into the idea that my voice doesn’t matter.

I’ve, unfortunately, fallen into the idea that my voice doesn’t matter.

Growing up in Maryland, a predominantly Democratic state, there was very little surprise to how Maryland would be represented in the polls. Maryland has supported the Democratic nominee in the last five presidential elections. The first Republican to be elected as Governor in four decades lost his seat after serving only one term.

Whether I chose to vote Democratic or Republican wouldn’t matter — Democrats would still win the Maryland elections. What was the point?

I think that we run into these situations too often. We see something that’s wrong or needs to change, but we succumb to the idea that nothing can be changed, that we can’t do anything about it. C’est la vie.

We succumb to the idea that nothing can be changed, that we can’t do anything about it.

But in the middle of living in an unjust society, as the Israelites did during their Babylonian exile, the call of God is not to simply await a future perfect kingdom. Their call, like ours, is to engage.

To build houses and settle down. To cultivate gardens and eat their produce. To get married and have children. To promote the welfare of the cities that we’re in.

This is the calling, God says, that the Lord has in mind for us. This is the plan for prosperity and not for harm.

In this issue, we paint a picture of what it means for people to hear this calling and to love their neighbors enough to engage in politics on their behalf.

Will you also hear the calling? Or, will you remain silent?

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