Single women, I have a prediction for you: In the next five months, you will be courted by two men. Both are successful by the culture’s standards. They have Ivy League educations; powerful friends, family and business connections; and substantial wealth. Of course, you already know that one man is not particularly honest. He has lied to you directly and repeatedly, convinced that you wouldn’t notice or that if you did, your habit of being indirect and nonconfrontational in relationships would prevail. Just for good measure, he slipped you a little shopping money around tax time. He also fulfilled your fantasies (and his) by dressing up in a flight suit and strutting around an aircraft carrier lit by special-effects wizards from Hollywood. You swooned, along with the press. You imagined him to be virile enough to move a nation into and out of a war (though he acted like it was just a little argument) and be back in time to help with your aging parents’ medical bills. You were wrong. Now what?
First, stop interacting with politicians as if you are a single woman searching for a sugar daddy. Vote in the November election as if you are a yenta in search of a soul mate for the world. This year, the United States celebrates 228 years of freedom. Yet, in the 2000 presidential election, 22 million unmarried women who were eligible to vote did not cast ballots.
“Humankind cannot bear too much reality,” wrote T.S. Eliot. That’s a 20th-century assessment. We can live in the 21st century by embracing reality and then instituting change as required. The word “politics” essentially means “the work of the people.” Every one of us is responsible for the work of bringing our nation to unity as one body (the definition of community). Then we must gather the world as one. In the process, each of us will heal the broken parts of ourselves that yearn for intimacy, because we will have discovered the powerful intimacy of unity with the world.
Megan McKenna, a modern- day prophetess, author and ambassador for Pax Christi, a Catholic peace organization, offers a viable work plan:
(1) Vote for the person you think will do the greatest amount of good or the least amount of harm on all issues.
(2) Never vote for a candidate based on one issue. Examine all issues: war and peace; monies spent on new nuclear weapons, destruction and killing (as opposed to nation-building and debt reduction for poor nations); poverty, especially of women and children; medication costs and universal health care; unemployment, underemployment and a living wage; immigration and refugee laws; low-income housing; education; and the pollution and waste of air, water and other resources. Then look at the more individualistic issues of same-gender marriage, euthanasia, stem-cell research, abortion and the death penalty. “Make cold-hearted decisions for life,” McKenna urged.
(3) Study the candidates’ position and record on working with the United Nations and allies to seek solutions that are without harm; that build a safer society for all; and that hold wealthy nations responsible for their tariffs, contributions to global warming and debt.
(4) Talk about politics. Discernment takes time and input from others. Do not decide to vote according to just one person—not a bishop, a buddy, a politician or a pope. Pray, alone and with others, after studying records and budgets. See if candidates have actually done anything connected to their campaign promises.
(5) Remember that no politician, no matter what religion he or she professes, is interested in the honor of God, the care of the poor or the coming of justice. That’s our job. So, vote for the person you think will allow you to do the most good.
I accept McKenna’s challenge. Will you join me? Imagine the planet singing to you, “Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match.” Then vote as if you are a yenta for the world.