An election is a beginning, not an ending

flag emblem for voting

As I write this, Election Day is here. I’m preparing to spend the afternoon serving as an election volunteer along with some neighbors. First, I’ll vote.

And then what?

Do you know what you’ll be doing when the election is over, no matter who wins?

Among my personal crusades is to eliminate catastrophic thinking among pro-life voters. I’ve fallen prey to it now and then myself, and I know what a time-waster it is. Here’s what I mean: So-and-so has to win or it’ll be a disaster. Life as we know it will end if this-or-that candidate wins. There’s no turning back if these people get re-elected.

Sound familiar?

Yes, election results can be awful. Life as we know it can change. There’s no going back to yesterday. Accept all that, and then keep going: and then what?

Have you been praying for a certain election result? Keep praying, no matter who wins. The people who are elected need your prayers. The more destructive their preferred policies, the more essential your prayers.

Do you fear government hostility if – just as an example – California’s former attorney general becomes vice-president? Her hostility to pro-life pregnancy care centers and to David Daleiden’s undercover journalism is well-known. Keep carrying out your ministry anyway. Strengthen your outreach to your neighbors, so they know they have a stake in your success.

Are you afraid that the closure of the State House and Legislative Office Building will reduce your access to New Hampshire legislators during critical hearings? If you’re not familiar with the online Zoom platform, which is what legislative committees are likely to use for meetings until buildings re-open, learn about it. If you’re reading this, you’re online already and you’re savvy enough to catch on. House and Senate hearings must be open to the public, even if the hearings are held remotely. The House and Senate calendars will provide all the information you need to log in to any hearing.

Same goes for the Executive Council meetings and the many budget hearings that will take place early next year. If they can’t be open to the public in-person, they must by law be open to the public in another way. Do not accept any suggestion that you’re shut out. You’re not.

Do you think there’s no point in contacting your representatives if you know they’re hostile to pro-life policies? Wrong. Once the election is over, make a note of your elected officials’ names and contact information. Stock up on postcards, or put their phone numbers in your contact list, or set up an email group with all the addresses. Then whenever something comes up, let them hear from you. Your messages can and should be brief, but send them even if they’re only one sentence long. Never, never, never let a rep say she didn’t hear from the loyal opposition.

Do you think the elected officials who do the right thing can get by without your encouragement? Wrong. Use those postcards and phone calls and emails to give thanks when it’s due. Discouragement is poison to pro-life work. Fight it.

Elections are important. So is what comes afterward.

If your preferred candidates win, great. Let them know you’re keeping an eye on them.

If the election goes another way, life goes on. Those officeholders will need to know you’re keeping an eye on them, too.

I’ll certainly be watching. I’ll track the bills and the votes and who says what. I hope you’ll join me.

Author: Ellen Kolb

New Hampshire-based writer, pro-life activist, hiker.

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