• 39°

Paid political letter: I value the voting

What do you value? What are your values? I value living in a democracy. I like to get that sticker that says, “I voted.” I value the secret ballot. I like going into that booth knowing that I am not graded or judged by the votes I cast. I can freely mark the ballot according to what I value.

We vote in other organizations, sometimes in church meetings. At one church we were voting on a decision. It was a change I wanted as pastor but would not make without a decision of support. A business leader was the one person who spoke against the change. Weeks later one of that person’s employees came to me and said, “Pastor, some of us want you to know that we do like the change you suggest. But you must understand, we work for this person and we need to vote with him.” With a secret ballot the employees could have expressed their opinion freely and fairly.

I value voting. When you vote with a secret ballot you get to mark it according to what you value, not what your pastor or your employer wants. Until you file your ballot, you get to think about what is important to you. You can change your mind. It is free and fair.

I value the political goal of “free and fair elections.” It is a value that the United States has had in foreign policy. Our nation has fought wars for “free and fair elections.” Every day President Trump says if he doesn’t win, then the elections are rigged. Donald Trump values winning over “free and fair elections.” He reminds me of what is attributed to the Green Bay Packer coach, Vince Lombardi. “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.” That is not what I value.

Thousands of our neighbors in the United States work in the election and are dedicated to having a “free and fair election.” If you have any concern about a free and fair election, educate yourself about the process. You can start by going to the website of the secretary of state: https://www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/how-elections-work/

Every day the president should be saying, “This is what we need to do to improve our tradition of free and fair elections;” or, “I am working with the post office and everyone who works there to guarantee that your vote will count;” or, “Because of the caution we take for the safety of citizens during a pandemic, the election count this year may take longer, but your vote counts! Get out there and vote!”

As an individual, Donald Trump values winning over a free and fair election. But as president of the United States, his job is to work every day to make the election more free and more fair. Do your job.

If you value voting, vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Vote for Tina Smith. Vote for veteran Dan Feehan. Vote for Thomas Martinez. Vote for Dan Sparks.

Joel Xavier