ERROL CASTENS: Taking the election in stride

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

I was helping Roger pick the last of the devil peppers that had survived the first light frosts. I would be safely on my side of the hedge when he started using them to brew the recent best-seller in his line of hot sauces, “Do-It-Yourself Tonsillectomy.”
After bringing in a few bushels, we peeled off our rubber gloves and goggles to drink water, mop the little bit of sweat we’d worked up off our faces and scratch whatever itches had built up while capsaicin had rendered our fingertips toxic to eyes, noses and other tender places.
“You and Roberta want to come over on Election Night and watch the results with us?” I asked. “I’ll probably be cranking it up around 10.”
“Thanks, but like Harry Truman on his election night, I’ll probably be in bed by then,” Roger said.
I couldn’t believe he wouldn’t want to see the political dramatics and the personal hysterics that would be played out in living colors of blue and red.
“Nope,” he said. “It’s nothing for me to lose sleep over.”
I asked how he could be so nonchalant about the election.
“Aren’t you concerned about who’s going to run our country for the next four years?” I demanded. “Don’t you worry about debts and deficits and defense and distortion and distraction, and, and, and …” as I ran slap out of alliterations.
Roger sighed.
“The Bible says, ‘Fear not,’ or words to that effect, hundreds of times,” he said. He went on to remind me that Christian scripture instructs specifically to “honor the emperor,” no matter who the “emperor” of the moment happens to be.
“The emperor under whom the Apostle Peter wrote that may very well have been Nero,” Roger said. “He was someone who reportedly used Christians as tiki torches for his patio parties. If the early Christians could show honor to him, anyone who’s ever run for president of the United States is easy by comparison. That takes care of some of my concern.”
I drank some more water, supposing that Roger wasn’t finished with the subject.
“We’re also told to pray for our leaders,” he said. “The Apostle Paul urged Timothy ‘… that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.’
“That takes care of more undue concern yet,” he added.
I still couldn’t conceive of not wanting to know the winner of the presidential election as soon as possible, and said so.
“Go ahead and enjoy the returns,” Roger said, and I promised I would do my best.
“I’ve decided staying up to watch the count and chew my fingernails up past the elbow won’t change the outcome of the election,” he said. “But it will make me tired the next day.”
Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at

Click video to hear audio