Flora Larsson, a Salvation Army poet, found herself asking one of life’s critical questions:
Do I matter? That’s a vital question for me, Master.
Among so many others does my life count for anything?
I believe it does, Lord, to you, the Creator of life itself,
Who feels a pang of loss when the heart of a sparrow stills.
You have granted me the gift of life, so I must matter to you.
I don’t know whether it’s my advancing age, or an increasing sense of despair at how hurtful people can be to each other, or perhaps its just my reaction to the constant talkfest associated with the upcoming elections—coming as it does at a time of crisis and uncertainty around the world. But I am tired of mindless, unsubstantiated slogans, labels and generalisations, especially when they are used to depict those holding different views as ‘the enemy’— always a metaphor of war!
Don’t you want everyone to be informed about the issues, the commitments and the promises—filtering out the mindless criticism and other nonsense? Don’t you want people to just listen to each other, and to hear all the messages? Don’t you just want people to openly acknowledge that we all love our community, and that we share responsibility for each other? Don’t you want our community to truly believe and affirm that every single person matters?
We have to work together to build a community that ensures each person is safe, has access to health care, has the resources to grow and develop and reach their potential, receives an education that prepares them for life, is able to work and receive a fair wage, and feels they are valued and able to contribute. Remember the saying: ‘It takes a community to raise a child’!
Our vote each three years is one important way we influence how our community works. It’s great that, in Aotearoa New Zealand, regardless of which one or more parties form the majority in Parliament after this upcoming election, the voice of the minority parties in opposition for the next three years will not be silenced or suppressed. Before and after the election, our task will be to constantly reaffirm to all our representatives that people really do matter. This a lesson we all must each learn and relearn, and renew our commitment to each new day.
By Judith Christensen (Manager, Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit)
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The Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit
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Phone: +64 9 262 2332