2016 Bahai National Convention- Photo Credit: David Simmons

High Hopes for Future Elections

Before you wonder if I’ve bumped my head, let me say, I’m not talking about the current method of elections. I’ve heard so many people speak about their growing hopelessness and frustration about the lack of civility, kindness, and respect on the national scene. So why am I so hopeful?

That’s the topic I woke up pondering this morning. I’d just returned from a wonderful four-day conference in Chicago electing the members of the Bahai National Spiritual Assembly. In addition, delegates from across the United States gathered to discuss our latest divinely inspired plan on how to bring peace, justice, equity, and unity to the world.  I left the Conference with renewed hope, focus, and commitment. It’s much easier to be hopeful around people who are hopeful, organized, believing, professional, courteous, loving, and willing to work (and not just talk about) bettering the world. Very few people are dispensing hope these days but I received a heaping helping over the last four days.

“As ye have faith, so shall your powers and blessings be, this is the balance; this is the balance.”  Baha’i Writings. In the Bible, “Faith can move mountains.”

Dr. Dale Archer wrote in Psychology Today, “If I could find a way to package and dispense hope, I would have a pill more powerful than any antidepressant on the market. Hope, is often the only thing between man and the abyss. As long as a patient, individual or victim has hope, they can recover from anything and everything. However if they lose hope, unless you can help them get it back, all is lost.”  He explains that hope is more than a wish it is a belief.

It is so easy to be disheartened listening to the constant media reportings of hatred, greed, prejudice, violence, corruption, and the lowering of moral standards in the world. Causing more angst is the discourteous nature of our political candidate elections and the way it is bringing out the worst in far too many people. Fortunately, as Delegate to the Baha’i National Convention for my electoral unit, I got to witness a rarified election in stark contrast to the current political scene.  So many distinctions, that one can only have hope the world gets to one day witness a model like this that works.  First of all, we had 100% participation. Who has 100% participation in anything these days?  Secondly, there were no invalid ballots. This was due to an informed and educated electorate. Thirdly, there was no electioneering; no partisan or negative politics. Everyone there had been elected from their electoral units across the country, and as such represented the grass roots.  The Delegates began by reflecting on how we should choose our leadership.

“..It is incumbent upon the chosen delegates to consider without the least trace of passion and prejudice, and irrespective of any material consideration, the names of only those who can best combine the necessary qualities of unquestioned loyalty, of selfless devotion, of a well-trained mind, of recognized ability and mature experience….” (3 June 1925 to the Bahá’í Convention, published in Bahá’í Administration p. 88)

We approached our sacred task with humility, honor, and joy.  Everyone rejoiced about the final results.  When not voting, we consulted on topics of interest for the advancement of humankind, studied the guidance for the 5-Year plan (2016- 2021) on how to serve others, and shared progress nationally on our successes and commitment to our children’s moral and spiritual education, youth empowerment, and to creating spaces to pray, fellowship, and encourage each other.  So that is why am I hopeful!  I’ve witnessed a model of elections that works. I’m hopeful because maybe the world will get to witness it too!  To learn more about what the Bahais are doing to build the kingdom of God on earth, click here.


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