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avoterThis morning I deviated from my pattern of “blog first” because yesterday was the New York State primary in the campaign for president of the United States and I wanted to see how my neighbors voted. There were no surprises really but lots of “spinning” of the results and crunching of numbers for the possible final nominees to the general election. It is a contentious moment in US politics – much deeper and broader than the presidential race, of course – encompassing many issues and all branches of our government. It’s difficult to see the future; the divisions are so blatant on both national and local levels.

I’ve had many conversations in the past week on the value of non-judgmental listening to expand our consciousness – the only way, I think, to become aware of the reasoning behind differing convictions. I don’t often turn to Thomas Merton’s political statements for reflection, even though he was quite outspoken, especially toward the end of his life, on issues of social justice. This morning, however, in the wake of last night’s results, I can’t help but share what I read – once again a seemingly appropriate choice (as often these days) of something to consider as we reflect on the state of the world in which we live.

It seems to me that the basic problem is not political, it is apolitical and human. One of the most important things to do is to keep cutting deliberately through political lines and barriers and emphasizing the fact that these are largely fabrications and that there is another dimension which politics pretend to arrogate entirely to themselves. This is the necessary first step along the long way toward the perhaps impossible task of purifying, humanizing and somehow illuminating politics themselves. Is this possible? At least we must try to hope in that, otherwise all is over. But politics as they now stand are hopeless.

Hence the desirability of a manifestly non-political witness, non-aligned, non-labeled, fighting for the reality of [man] and [his] rights and needs in the nuclear world in some measure against all the alignments.    (The Hidden Ground of Love, p. 272)