(I have to give my friend Karen Alea Ford credit for the inspiration for this post. She tweeted this idea about a year ago.)
I sometimes hear people wonder if it is worth it to get involved in politics. I want to shout, "YES! Absolutely!!" Politics is the mechanism whereby we, the people, make our voice heard in government.
In fact, one way to take care of our neighbors and to love our neighbors, is to engage politically. I believe that everyone in our country should have access to affordable healthcare because it is a manifestation of how we love each other, so I vote for candidates who support that. I believe that guns need more regulation so that we have fewer mass shootings because I love my neighbors, so I use my vote to try to effect that.
On Martin Luther King Day, it's particularly appropriate to consider how we can love one another by how we participate in the political process. When we choose candidates who are sensitive to the fact that minorities are underrepresented in government and upper level employment, but highly over-represented in the prison population, we are loving our minority neighbors. When we encourage our elected representatives to push to end the detainment of refugees at the border, we are showing love to our immigrant neighbors.
Love isn't something that we just say to one another. Love is our actions. How we cast our votes and how we participate in our democracy are important mechanisms for loving those around us.