Cincinnati, Ohio recently hosted The World Choir Games. The city put on its best face, cleaning up the streets, bringing out new “flying pigs,” and extending our beautiful riverfront park system. The only thing that outperformed civic pride was the fabulous singers from all over the world. It was wonderful, but even more wonderful was an act I observed from a distance at one of their free concerts in a local park. It was a VERY HOT July evening and at the beginning of the concert the MC especially welcomed visitors from other countries. I noticed that a group near us was from Norway. A few minutes later I noticed a man with his daughter walking toward them with several snow cones. He offered them to the guests. They returned puzzled glances but then graciously accepted the refreshing treats. What an act of international diplomacy. I marveled; was proud of this unknown stranger; and then felt embarrassed that I hadn’t thought to do something similar. Ah, human nature is basically good after all.

To keep this politically neutral, here are campaign signs for 2 nonpartisan local races.

Fast forward to this political campaign season. (Actually one hardly has to fast forward since it’s been going on for almost a year now.) The incivility, rudeness, misleading ads, and stealing of campaign signs is rampant in this swing state. I am embarrassed again – but this time for my fellow citizens. Today I will go to Church and hope there are not blatant, politically partisan, or misleading comments or literature. After that I will do canvassing for the candidate of my choice. Some are bound to disagree with me. Even though I feel strongly that my candidate and related issues will best serve the common good, I am going to try hard to be civil in my discourse. Strongly principled people still need to be kind.

…10 hours later. OK, I just returned from campaigning. In addition to being civil and friendly to the people who answered my door knocks, regardless of their political persuasion, I had hoped to find an opportunity to do a random act of kindness. I had just contacted my last name who happened to be working at a corner bar, but regretfully no one had leapt out in front of me needing an act of kindness. I did, however, see a discarded cup on the ground. I decided that this was probably the best I could do – be kind to the earth. So, I picked up the cup and walked back to the bar to ask if I could put it in their trash can. The guy at the door just kept saying, “Hey, let me fill that up for you with a free Coke. We appreciate the work you’re doing.” I said, “No, it’s really just trash, but thanks for offering.” Again, others keep outdoing me in kindness. Maybe this is a metaphor for God’s lavish kindness.