The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


November 5, 2008

Food for thought—or fertilizer?

I was going to write a serious blog today, one that dealt with health-care issues. Perhaps I'll do that another time. I had to sign a document today (I'm writing this on November 4—Election Day) that is a first for me. And the timing of it, falling as it does on the day that marks the end (we hope) of a very long and contentious election season ... well, it's just too good. It is definitely food for thought. Or is it fertilizer that will help new thoughts emerge?

As part of my tasks as executor of my mother's estate, I've just sold our Iowa family farm. The closing won't occur until next spring but the buyer wanted me to sign a waiver allowing him access to our farmland so he could spread manure and fertilizer this fall—even though he won't take possession until next spring. This makes a great deal of sense. I know enough about farming to know fall is the time to do this.

Anyway, the fax machine delivered to me today a formal document requiring my signature. The title of this document, printed in large letters at the top? "Permission to Spread Manure Form." Then followed a legal description of the land, the number of acres, etc., with all its legal language. Though the matter is serious, I confess it did make me laugh. And particularly so today, of all days, after so many months of what might be called fertilizer having been spread on the air waves, in print and on our TV screens. 

I wonder, though: Might we have just crossed some kind of line? I sense that many voters are completely fed up at the mud-slinging and dirty campaigning that has become standard fare in our country. I hear lots of outrage. We can only hope that we've hit bottom—and that somewhere, somehow, we might get in touch with our better selves throughout this political process. May it be so.

 P.S. Now it really is Wednesday, November 5. No matter how you voted yesterday, we can all agree this is an historic occasion. I remember my first election ever—1963—when people thought we shouldn't elect a Roman Catholic. "The Pope would be part of decision-making," people said. We got past that. Now let us hope we can see some healing of race relations. And who knows? Perhaps I'll even live long enough to see a woman become president too.  

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