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steve chavez2In the book Roughing It, Mark Twain shares an experience in which he and two friends found themselves lost in a blizzard at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains. After crossing a swollen creek they wondered in which direction they should set out. One of the men maintained that his instinct was as sensitive as any compass, so they followed his lead.

After a half hour they came upon some fresh horse tracks, so they urged their horses to go faster, hoping to catch up with the travelers just ahead Then they came upon tracks newer and fresher and spurred their horses onward, thinking they were following a company of soldiers from a nearby fort. As they trotted along, and the tracks became fresher and more numerous, they began to think that the platoon of soldiers had become a regiment.

After two hours, the three travelers realized that they had been going in circles. Proof of that discouraging fact was that they could see the swollen creek they had crossed two hours before, and beyond that, dimly outlined through the driving snowfall, the inn they had left that morning .

This story represents the situation in which many of us now find ourselves. We've struggled for decades to make our church and society more just, more equal, more open to the rights of marginalized people in our communities. But now we see groups and individuals trying to undo the progress that has been made and take us back to a time in which "the few" are able to make decisions on behalf of "the many." Not surprisingly, many of us feel as if we're going in circles.

Our current election cycle is noteworthy because one of the political parties almost universally supports the lie that the 2020 presidential election was riddled with fraud. It supports restrictions on voting rights, women's rights, minority rights; restrictions on democracy in general.

Elections are our opportunity to install candidates in office who will not only preserve the freedoms we've struggled for in the past, but will work to make them a permanent part of our country's philosophy and practice. Voting matters.

— Stephen Chavez, Director of Church Relations

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