Opinions are funny things.
Whether it’s the proper way to cook a steak, our favorite song or the merits of a beloved sports team, there’s nothing we love more than to argue and debate our opinions about every aspect of our lives.
Living in the South, we may even find ourselves in a friendly dispute over the best brand of mayonnaise. Most of these little debates are all in meant in fun, although I will admit I take my Duke’s mayo pretty seriously.
One of the most precious freedoms we enjoy in America is the right to vote. Every so often we all have the opportunity to cast our ballots and make a choice about who will lead our country, state, city, and county. It’s an almost sacred moment to share our opinion and make a decision based on our beliefs and the things we value most.
Once those elections are over, the people chosen by the majority take office and are given a powerful and frightening responsibility. They’re put in a position where the choices they make affect not only themselves and their families, but the lives of countless others.
Elections are a win or lose proposition. Whichever way each of us decides to vote, some will see the person they want take office while others will find themselves under the leadership of a person they would not have chosen.
Today all of those elected officials are facing decisions they never would have dreamed of. From the halls of power in Washington and Jackson to the boardrooms and government offices in our own community, the coronavirus has forced choices to put limits on freedoms we all hold dear in an effort to protect us from a serious and deadly threat.
The choices they are making are all certainly open for debate and discussion. It’s the American way and we’re all entitled to our opinions on their decisions. Honest, fair and thoughtful debate is a cornerstone of democracy.
What’s not up for debate, at least to me, is the need for us all to remember and respect the incredibly difficult decisions each of our leaders are facing and to pray for them to have strength, courage, and wisdom during these unprecedented times.
Our leaders at all levels are facing long days and sleepless nights. They’re dealing with a situation that would have sounded like the plot of a bad novel just a few short months ago and taking on challenges they never would have imagined when they decided to run for office.
It doesn’t really matter who you voted for or who you didn’t vote for. These are our leaders and they are the ones who will be making the tough choices to guide us through this crisis. We may not all agree on the best path, but we can all agree to pray for and encourage those deciding it.
We must remember they are people too. They’re men and women who are giving of themselves daily to serve and they need strength, hope, wisdom and our prayers to guide them to the choices which must be made to bring us all out the other side of these dark days.
Brant Sappington is editor of the Daily Corinthian’s sister newspaper, the Banner-Independent, and a longtime member of the Corinthian’s newsroom team where he currently serves as assistant editor.