Sound of Silence

I’m a little ticked off.

Thankfully, there’s a local election next month. National politics are enough to evoke outrage, but local politics are just a little … irritating. Take for example, water restrictions. Being raised by Depression-era parents, I tend to assume there is some kind of higher knowledge, perhaps garnered from the Army Corps of Engineers, that deems letting my lawn die a painful death, a wise idea. I can deal with water restrictions, begrudgingly, but I can do it. When, because of a power surge, my sprinkler goes off on the wrong day, the day after the restrictions tightened, we get a $200 fine – no warning – no grace for first time offenders – I get a little ticked off.

When at lighter traffic times, some higher authority sets the left turn signal at a 6-lane intersection to only go off every fourth light rotation – forcing me to sit at a red light with no traffic in any direction for three of those rotations, I get a little ticked off. And sometimes, I run the red light.

But when the city council passes an ordinance that many in the community are uncomfortable with, an ordinance – passed without a public vote – that could potentially force citizens to choose between violating their consciences or violating the law, I get a little more than ticked off.

I get a lot more interested in local politics.

I start looking closely at who is running for local office. I start listening to what they say. And I’m learning to take it one step further: I’m learning to listen to what they don’t say.

Recently, my husband and I listened to a nationally-broadcast interview with one of our national leaders (three guesses who) and the Prime Minister of Italy on the topic of nuclear disarmament. My husband began timing the length of our official’s responses to fairly straightforward, yes or no questions. The shortest answer took five minutes.

When it takes five minutes to answer a yes or no question, it’s remarkably easy to not answer the question at all. The audience is so busy trying to follow your rabbit trail, they end up forgetting the rabbit altogether and chasing a squirrel. And in all the prattle, there’s a deafening silence on the issue.

What is it they’re afraid of saying?

The doctor that treated my mother through the entirety of her terminal illness was not a man of words. He had no humor. His facial expressions were deadpan. In four years, I never saw him crack a smile. But one reassuring hand on her shoulder at the check-out desk was all we needed to know that her prognosis was not good. Without a word, he spoke volumes. Still waters indeed run deep.

Ecclesiastes 6:11

For there are many words which increase futility. What then is the advantage to a man?

I’m planning to attend a meet-the-candidate event, and I may ask a few questions. But better yet, I think for the most part, I’ll just listen. I’ll listen to what is said, I’ll listen to how much is said, and I’ll listen to what remains silent. And then I’ll make my voice heard – at the polls….while I can.

Because when the leaders of a suburb, that most people in the country haven’t even heard of, begin denying their constituents the right to vote on matters of conscience, a tiny little seed has been planted and taken root that may well grow into the largest tree in the garden. And given the prevalence of executive orders coming out of Washington, it might just be a trending from the top down.

Proverbs 10:19

When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.

Pray for the nation!

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