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The following article is a reprint from the February, 1996, Our Savior Connection…. over 25 years ago. It was written only days after Barbara Jordan died. If you don’t know who Barbara Jordan is, pull her up on YouTube.
America’s First Lady
I was bewildered when I voted for a President of the United States for the first time.
I was a child of conservative Midwest Lutheranism, growing up in the no-holds-barred 60’s and 70’s. My parental pedigree and political persuasion were a mixed bag. I was confused. Huddled in the secret sanctity of the voting booth, scanning the names of the presidential candidates, I was paralyzed by uncertainty. The advice of my father came to mind: “When in doubt, vote for the one with integrity.” Without further hesitation, I picked up a pen and wrote in my vote for president:
While I had tried to act nobly, I had voted naively. A write-in vote was a wasted vote. My vote was not recorded. It made no difference in the political process.
Barbara Jordan died last week. Time and Newsweek gave her obligatory obituaries—not even a photo. How soon we forget. And how desperately we must remember. During one of our nation’s darkest hours, Barbara Jordan lifted us up to a moral high ground with the pure light of honesty. When things were at their murkiest, Barbara Jordan spoke clearly, directly, unflinchingly. She was a lone voice of truth.
Today’s political operators hedge bets, fudge truth, check polls, cut deals, cloud the issues. The truth is buried under legalese. Before we speak, we weigh our popularity and check with our lawyers. Is it any wonder that we shake our heads after the O.J. trial, the Whitewater hearings, the budget debate, the State of the Union speech, the Republican primaries? As a nation, we’ve sold honesty down the river. What are these people saying? What do they really stand for? Is anybody served by deception? Whom can you trust?
What is truth?
Where have you gone, Barbara Jordan? America needs you…
Her firm gaze and resonant voice reminded us that truth is pure and honesty is noble.
When Ms. Jordan spoke, America had a conscience again. Barbara Jordan’s eyes flashed beneath her furrowed brow. With a look, liars fled for cover. With a word, she cut through deception.
“What is truth?” asked Pontius Pilate from the murky darkness of his age.
With a look, the face of the Crucified gave answer. Without a single word, Jesus embodied truth. Jesus stared down deceit and double-dealing death… simply, clearly. What is truth? Pilate knew. The disciples knew. And you, followers of Christ, so do you.
Years ago, I voted for Barbara Jordan to be President of the United States.
My vote never even counted. But I was young, and it was,
after all, my first time…
In a few months, I’ll again be standing in the secret sanctity of a voting booth.
But if I could hear her voice echo just one more time down the halls of Congress, across Senate hearings, inside the budget bargaining sessions…
I wouldn’t hesitate a second.
I’d pick up a pen and write in Barbara Jordan.