The Pond Scum Exchange (Why voting matters less than you think)

When we bought our sucky crack-house we thought the fantastic view of the zoo/park across the street might possibly redeem the pitiful structure. However, the park struggles financially and some things have become a bit of an eyesore. All summer long our park pond has looked like this:

Our neighborhood Facebook group recently debated the park pond problem. The back and forth went something like this: (Oh, a little caveat, our neighborhood isn’t exactly BIG on polite and edited language – so I just **** the swears like a good Christian and you can just say them in your head because Jesus doesn’t read minds… {insert eye-rolling})

Neighbor 1: What the f*** is wrong with the pond in the park? It stinks, it’s ugly and looks like Shrek should live there.

Neighbor 2: I think the new zoo/park president f***ed the whole place. It’s his fault.

Neighbor 3: What do you know about the president? He’s a great guy and has done a lot of good for the zoo/park.

[And then an argument ensued with about 10 more posts from an additional 10 neighbors and easily 20 more swears]

Neighbor 4: I think it’s a tax issue. We’re being screwed. The pond in the park on the north side isn’t covered in scum. They need to use some of our f***ing tax dollars to improve this side of town! We’ve been effed by the city.

Neighbor 5: You’re a f***ing socialist. You want all the neighborhoods to look the same and be treated the same.

[And another argument ensued with more jabbing back and forth and more swears]

Neighbor 6: I heard it was because of climate change. Something about f***ing with ecosystems and sh**.

Neighbor 7: Are you f***ing serious??? Climate change is such a f***ing hoax from liars who just want to keep us scared and controlled.

[And yet ANOTHER argument ensued – multiple posts, more swears, more name-calling, more hurt]

Neighbor 8:  You know what? I have a kayak and an old swimming pool surface skimmer. I bet if 2 or 3 of us went over this afternoon with our kayaks and pool skimmers we could have that pond cleaned up in about an hour. Anyone with me?



Why I Want To Be Neighbor 8

Despite our constant affinity for social media bickering, I think ONE thing we might all agree on right now is this: Our political climate is heated, toxic, and dangerous – perhaps the worst in America’s history. It’s certainly the worst of my lifetime.

And, unless for some sick reason you enjoy fear, peril, and instability, I think we all long to have the bickering, back-biting and fear-mongering stop. We long for peace and unity and a country we can be proud of. We long for a time when both Democrats and Republicans and everyone in between can share thoughts, ideas, hopes and dreams in a civil way with a glass of wine and lots of grace. We long to be a country where diversity is not only tolerated, but even celebrated. That I would not mind if your opinions are very different from mine – because you and your opinions help make me be a better me.

We long for November 3 to be done already so people will stop telling us how wrong we are.

The thing is, from all that I’ve seen and heard, the degree to which we attach importance of the presidential election seems to be inversely proportional to the degree of our involvement on the most pressing issues at stake. Another way to put it: those who are most likely to be vocal about the election to the point of demonizing “the other,” seem to be the least engaged in solutions.

Right now, I know many people who are: working to help the homeless, serving in underserved and underfunded schools, mentoring children and youth from troubled homes, praying for every person entering and leaving abortion clinics, serving at the local and state level of government where many of the decisions that directly affect us are made (like allocated abortion dollars – it’s FAR MORE of a state-by-state issue than a NATIONAL government issue – please read THIS if you believe the president has much say in abortion-related outcomes), serving those held in border control facilities by offering free medical care, working in Central America to decrease violence and expose and eliminate corruption so people won’t feel compelled to flee, coordinating racial reconciliation groups in their neighborhoods, bringing donuts and notes of encouragement to their local police precincts, volunteering at local food banks, building homes for Habitat for Humanity – and so, so many others…

And you know what all these people have in common? They are too busy DOING the things that America desperately needs that they have no time to spend on social media or elsewhere complaining about the problems and arguing over which person in some lofty seat of over-emphasized importance will best fix them.

They grabbed their kayaks and their pool skimmers and GOT BUSY!!!

In this unbelievably polarized political environment, our little neighborhood “pond-scum exchange” serves as a powerful reminder that the number one way we can bring change to the world is NOT by – as many falsely believe – making sure you vote for the “right” candidate, but to actually


14 thoughts on “The Pond Scum Exchange (Why voting matters less than you think)

  1. Right on!! People who are focused on being the change don’t have time to b**** and complain on social media!
    Thank you again, Cindy!

  2. Beautifully written. I don’t have a kayak but that’s no excuse. I do have a skimmer and I will help from the shore! ♥️

    1. Hahaha! Becky, I know you well enough to know you start every day with your skimmer in hand and head out into the world ready to BE THE CHANGE wherever God leads you!!! Go, girl!!!

  3. If you get that zoo president to put in some kind of water fountain in that pond it will keep the scum from forming. You could draw a fun social justice analogy with that… making sytemic changes to keep from having to scrape the scum! I love what you are saying AND I still say PLEASE take time out from your busy days of world changing and VOTE… best by absentee and drop off at your clerk’s office. Sign up to be a poll worker if you can handle the mask and the risk. I think it’s VERY important to work to change the world AND to vote your conscience after being informed from neutral sources.

    1. Amen, amen, amen! So agree, Margie! I hope this post didn’t sound as if I thought voting wasn’t important – it’s CRITICAL!!! Someone else made that same point to me and it’s a point well taken: It’s not a choice of getting involved OR voting – we must do BOTH!!! Never before has our vote mattered so much and I also totally agree that we must vote our conscience only AFTER being fully informed from multiple trustworthy and neutral sources. So many people say to me they listen to their “one trusted source” – and I cringe because I’m pretty sure I know who they’re referring to and I think many people are mistaking opinion from news. It takes time, effort and intentionality to sift through the opinions and rhetoric flooding our newsfeeds – but it is a critical exercise for us in this age of our critical vote. So, YES, YES, YES – we must VOTE as we work to BE THE CHANGE!!!

  4. Oh sweet & Brilliant Cindy… this is the BEST read!! I hope that you don’t mind my sharing it… I Miss having you in our neighborhood and I Look forward to your wisdom and amazing Blogs💖God Bless you!!!

    1. Thanks so much, Cheri! To be honest, I get so discouraged on this writing journey because it is a LOT of work and I keep getting the same response from publishers that I don’t have what it takes (primarily, they’ll only publish famous people or people with such a huge following, it’s a no-brainer that their books will sell). So I sometimes wonder why I’m doing what I’m doing. But then I get this kind of encouragement from people like you (people I really respect) and I think, “That’s my reason.” That’s it. That’s all. Just trying to share the love of Jesus in words with anyone who will listen. Thank you so much. Miss you, too. xoxo

  5. Cindy,
    Your soul is beautiful and your insight is priceless! YOU are neighbor #8 and gathering up #9 and #10, while convincing #6,#7 that you are having way more fun.
    Once again, you nailed it! So beautifully written, enjoyable reading and such an unforgettable message. xoxo Reneta (Zimmerman) Mais

    1. Thank you, Reneta! The Zimmerman family has ALWAYS exemplified neighbor #8 in your generosity, kindness and extravagant hospitality! Thank YOU for being a part of the solution instead of the problem!!!

  6. I LOVED this, so much. I call it the Convenient Absolution by Election Confessional…if I “vote right” and the “wrong” person wins, I’m absolved of all guilt and can now spend the next 4 years complaining. If the “right” person wins, I’m also off the hook because, hey, it’s handled now. Thank you for writing it.
    Excellent piece, shared this on Twitter.

    1. Oh My!!! Yes, yes, yes!!! Can I use that quote “Convenient Absolution by Election Confessional”??? So perfect to describe how many of us view voting – as if it absolves us of any of the responsibility to live out the VERY THING that we get all shout-y and passionate about during the election! So sad. It’s only a vote. If we Christians would all just get busy and live like Jesus did, I think the person we voted into office would have very little consequence. What a wonderful world that would be…

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