The Venezuelan presidential recall vote set for Aug. 15 will be a critical moment in that country's development. During the past year, huge demonstrations for and against the president have taken place, some of which have led to loss of life. Tensions between different factions have been heightened.
Even if the president is recalled, the Constitution requires that elections be held within 30 days, and interpretations differ as to whether the Constitution would allow him to stand for election again.
When the stability and progress of your country seem to ride on the outcome of a national vote, how can you be at peace?
As a Canadian, I've felt similarly unsettled about my country at times. In 1976, when I was 18, a separatist party was elected in Canada's second-largest province, Quebec. Referenda to determine whether Quebec should be part of Canada took place in the province in 1980 and in 1995. In both cases, separation was rejected. The democratic wishes of the population were respected in both instances. But it was a fingernail-biting time for all Canadians.
While I was grateful that all parties respected the democratic process, these political events caused me to think deeply about who I was and what was the source of my harmony. Did my sense of belonging, of stability, and of progress depend on the decisions of others? Could the harmony of my life and that of my country be taken away as the result of a group of people voting or acting in a certain way?
Over much of this period, I was deepening my study of Christian Science. While this is a system of healing that deals effectively with physical ailments, its teaching calmed me and actually allowed me to contribute to my country's unity.
One of the ideas that helped me during this time was that God, who is totally good, is the only Mind - the one true intelligence of the universe - the only true intelligence of each one of His children. As God's image and likeness, or God's reflection, each of us in our true being is subject to the power of God's goodness, thoughtfulness, and Father-Motherhood. This means that beyond the rhetoric of public discourse, each person is governed by reasonableness, fairness, and genuine concern for others, no matter what their political stripe.
Another idea that aided me was that our country did not have to be held captive to history. Though Canada, formed in 1867 by the coming together of two main language groups, has in many ways been a successful experiment in brotherhood/sisterhood, there have been patchy spots. At the time of the 1995 referendum, I reasoned that a history of linguistic and cultural conflict, in any degree, need not determine the right that we all have to live in peace and harmony at that moment. That history of conflict couldn't prevent us from going forward as one group of God's children. Nor could a history of resentment and ill will continue in the face of unity, fairness, and love. Those latter qualities have a fundamental rightness and inevitability to them.
Something else that helped me was from the book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy: "In the scientific relation of God to man, we find that whatever blesses one blesses all, as Jesus showed with the loaves and the fishes, - Spirit, not matter, being the source of supply" (page 206). The sentence communicated to me that what blessed one group of our country would also be a blessing to everyone in the country. Surely divine Love does not take away from one group to give to another. Surely the will of God is stability, justice, equity, and abundance for all.
All Venezuelans, no matter what their political views, are already united because each is one with divine Love. Being aware of this can make a practical difference in the outcome of the referendum and in how the population responds to that outcome. Unity, fairness, and love are supreme and will triumph over whatever stands in the way of these Godlike qualities.
On and after Aug. 15, Venezuelans can go forward in unity and harmony. This is the will of the one God, all-powerful and all-loving.