Why we don’t have faith in the X mark

Jane Winter

Election day is gone, the results known. I don’t know about you but I was conscious again of the same round of pre-election comments:

 ‘Arggggh I don’t know what to do – they all say the same things, who do I vote for?’
‘Oh I really can’t be bothered – there’s never any change’
‘I should get up and go – but there again none of us trust them’
Why is it that even those of us who know voting matters still find it hard to do?
Promising the same things
Many manifestos do say similar things, offering promises we know will be unachievable, not because they are not important, but because resources are limited and priorities take precedence. Promising sets up a particular relationship between people. Underlying the reluctance to believe promises is fear of being let down - again. Interesting: local faith based social action projects stick to their promises and continue to deliver in the local community even when resources disappear.
Never any change
There is nothing new under the sun, and for thousands of generations exactly the same basic needs have been necessary to ensure a stable vibrant community:
Education; employment - including voluntary working and securing food; health – of people and the environment; housing; transport and access to services. In one sense nothing changes, these five things always feature. The task of those we vote into politics is to ensure that services are provided to suit current community requirements. These change – through changing demographics: aging, social mobility, migration and so on. Interesting: local faith based social action projects are aware of what is changing locally, because they are part of the change. They have the flexibility to respond or champion a response to ensure those five requirements are delivered.
Learning to trust
Trust is what people of faith do well – or at least we try to do. Before we can trust we have to be confident we are placing trust in something or someone who will remain steadfast, loyal and will deliver. That’s when it gets hard, when promises have been broken and hoped for change is not delivered. It’s hard to trust when you’ve been knocked. There again it’s hard to stand for election knowing that probably a good majority will knock you down. Interesting: faith based social action projects bounce back stronger after a knock and the commitment to the community grows.
Whatever the result, whether we voted or not, if we want to see a positive difference the real work starts now. What can we do?
Contact those newly elected, offer a welcome, a desire to meet and a commitment to helping them really achieve what they promised. Changing culture takes time so now is a good time to start, who knows in five year’s time we might have faith in the X mark.   
Jane Winter 04/05/12