Election Day’s a Chooseday!

Election Day is the day we voice our values and influence our future

You cast your vote.
You voice your will
with gratitude you can.
Democracy exists because
you opt to take a stand.

Election Day’s a Chooseday.
It’s a chance to make a choice.
It’s a right that you’ve been given.
And there’s power in your voice.

Those you choose will make decisions
that will shape the world to come.
It’s your house (it’s not the White House)
where the fight for freedom’s won.

So do not neglect your duty.
On this Chooseday, choose to be
one whose wealth is found in choices
rather than the lottery.

The Home Row of Freedom

A manual typewriter keys remind us of what is not automatic

I’ve had a fascination with typewriters since I was three years old. I used to sit at my pastor-father’s manual Royal and pretend I was writing a sermon.

When I was in 8th grade, I audited a beginning typing class at the local community college. It was then I learned about the eight keys on the standard keyboard known as the “home row.”

In case you’ve forgotten, the home row of keys is comprised of ASDFJKL and the semi-colon. They are the resting position for your two hands. They’re like middle C on a piano. The home row serves as a foundation. They provide a perspective for your fingers as you type without having to look at the keyboard. Once your left hand and your right hand are oriented, you have a sense of security of where you are and where you’re headed.

With that orientation in mind, I’d like to consider those eight keys on this Independence Day weekend. Each of those letters stands for something foundational to our identity as a nation. They underscore what sets us apart. These qualities are the home row of our freedom. 

A stands for allegiance. Whenever we say “the pledge,” we vow our allegiance to more than the flag. We promise loyalty to the republic for which it stands. As we watch the Ukrainians resisting the Russians to remain independent, we see allegiance modeled courageously. What we see inspires us to a greater patriotism.

S calls to mind stewardship. When we sing America the Beautiful we are reminded of what lies beneath our spacious skies from sea to shining sea. The beauty of our country is ours to maintain and keep beautiful. We are the stewards. We are the caretakers entrusted to guarantee a litter-free, carbon-free future for our descendants.

D is for democracy. My Greek ancestors introduced the concept to our planet 2500 years ago. For the last 246 years we have carried forth the concept of self-rule. A government of the people, for the people and by the people is what makes our home sweet home as sweet as it is.

F stands for faith. Although we are a nation that insists on an appropriate border between church and state, we have always been a nation that has recognized a higher power and humbled ourselves with gratitude for the undeserved blessings of the Almighty. The fabric of our union frays to the degree we disregard God’s presence and sovereignty.

J is for justice. In spite of what we promise when we place our hand over our heart and pledge allegiance to Old Glory, we have failed miserably to insure justice for all. Nonetheless, the pursuit of justice remains at the core of our corporate conscience. Equal treatment under the law is the homefield advantage our constitution guarantees.

K calls to mind kinship. America has always been a family of people made up of individual families. We’ve been called a melting pot and an ethnic gumbo. We are a quilt of diverse cultures stitched together by the thread of a common dream. But that common dream does not denigrate our unique backgrounds. Rather, it celebrates them. Kinship is at our core.

L stand for Liberty. The gigantic statue in New York Harbor and the cracked bell in the City of Brotherly Love will never let us forget that liberty is at the heart of our identity as a free people. We fight wars on our own behalf and on behalf of others to protect the right to vote, the right to worship, the right to protest and the right to succeed. 

; The semi-colon reminds us of the fact that our story as a nation is still being written. According to Thomas Jefferson, the American experience is an experiment still being tested. Each Independence Day is an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the kind of country we desire to be as we keep our fingers on the home row. 

An Ongoing Gaze

The Lincoln Memorial was dedicated on May 30, 1922

Enthroned upon a marble chair,
Abe gazes east with somber stare
toward a dome where laws are made
and freedom is defined.

One nation under God remains
divided, bruised by hate and blame
as white headstones in Arlington
remind us what we know…

That freedom never has been free.
That what means most to you and me
was purchased with the blood of those
who died that we might live.

That Lincoln’s dream of unity
 of human rights and dignity
will in God’s time be realized
when peace on earth will reign.

  • Next week marks the centennial of the Lincoln Memorial. Gratefully, Robert Todd Lincoln, the only surviving child of the sixteenth President, was in attendance.

Out of Many, One

It’s more than a motto on our money

Current events define us as a people.
But does the currency we carry in our pockets?

E Pluribus Unum.

It’s engraved on our money
that accounts for our wealth as a nation.
A wealth that has little to do
with our gross national product.
It doesn’t relate all that much
to the interest rates or market shares.
And it’s really not indicative of
saving plans,
pension funds
or even things we own.

E. Pluribus Unim

It’s a little three-word Latin phrase
that we haven’t lived up to recently.
It’s high time we heeded this motto
that has held us together in low times.
It’s time we remembered we will only thrive
when we celebrate our oneness
in the midst of diversity.