Michael J. Readinger

I am writing this column on the day of the election. While I am passionate about the candidates I am supporting, the issues that impact me and my personal/professional life, and the sanctity of democracy, I do not know what we will wake up to on Wednesday, November 4, 2020. What I do know is that, one way or another, I will be proud to stand behind those same candidates, issues and beliefs on the day after the election as I did on the days before it. No matter who wins the various races, no matter whether the issues we are voting on pass or not, and regardless of protests or riots that may occur, I have to be present, ready and able — one way or another.

I must be prepared to move forward to help create a clear vision of the advocacy issues we will be called on to advance for the benefit of our membership. I must be ready to continue to develop my understanding of, and desire to be, an anti-racist. I must be able to be a voice of hope and not despair. One way or another — and not just as an inspiration or in support for others, but for myself: for my own well-being, for my own physical and mental health, for my own sense of dignity, and for my commitment to justice.

One way or another, we are collectively on this post-election, post pandemic, anti-racist journey together. Or maybe we are not. For those who are, it may be a marathon, or it may be a sprint. Allow for grace so that others may take the journey in a way that suits their needs, their discernment and their exploration of a justice-filled world. Respect others whose path is different from yours. Offer kindness, encouragement, support and welcome, as this multi-faceted journey is filled with hope and despair, enlightenment and doubt, accomplishments and setbacks.

When it is all said and done, we have a major and individual choice to make, one way or another. Will you choose forgiveness, with its components of grace, respect and kindness? Or, will you choose divisiveness and the lack of civility that accompanies it? If one truly embraces working together to create a just, caring and compassionate world, then the choice is clear.

Given the choices, there is only one way for me. I will be passionate, present, ready, forgiving and committed to justice and hope. Please join me!