But as for prophecies, they will come to an end…
I Cor. 13:8 NRSV
A couple months back, the residents of Wareham went to the polls, casting votes for or against and override budget. Rising expenses, short-term thinking, and a few lawsuits had created a budget disaster. The override funds would correct many of the problems: restoring an adequate number of school teachers, making much needed building improvements, keeping the town library open and certified, and more.
As in many towns, people opposed to any extra taxes vote faithfully in Wareham – about 1200 every time. The town officials figured that the override would pass if 2800 voters turned out. And they turned out. But the override was defeated two votes to one. In this instance, prediction didn’t turn into the expected reality.
There are many reasons why people voted no: additional financial burden, mistrust of town government, and a lack of vision for the future are just a few. There are many reasons why people voted yes: higher property values, good schools and public libraries for their children, and restored town services are just a few.
So what is the next step? Somehow, trust in the future must be restored. A willingness to move beyond past disagreements and errors is necessary. Taking the well being of all Wareham’s residents into account is a must. The people of Wareham have to want good things for their neighbors as well as for themselves – and be willing to sacrifice for them. In short, the people of Wareham have to love their neighbors as themselves. Costly Biblical advice, sound communal practice.
Political assumptions and poll prophesies come to an end for good or ill with every vote cast. But love never ends. Isn’t that always the best choice?