Reflections the Day After
This morning my friend JD Punch asked on Facebook if it was safe to go back to social media now that the election was over. A commenter added TV and radio to the list. I feel the relief of freedom from political inundation with him, but as I reflect on our country and the recent election I feel heaviness about a few things.
The state of our political system.
BBC America reported that the money spent on the election topped $2 billion. $2 billion dollars to say the same thing ten million times. $2 billion dollars to try and tip the scales in one direction or the other–often not based on the merits of a candidate or their platform, but on fear and hatred. It breaks my heart to live in a country where we spend $2 billion dollars on an election. As we bemoan the increasing debt, the lack of jobs, and world poverty, putting up with that kind of spending on an election in an indicator of our priorities. And that doesn’t change by political party.
Lack of courage.
Reflecting on the election I don’t think either party has addressed our debt with courage. Each side proposed a different colored band-aid for a gushing wound. No one wants to cut spending or raise taxes in a way that would actually get our budget balanced and begin to pay down our debt. If I was in their place I can’t say I’d have the courage to do it either. Fixing this massive problem would require great sacrifice and pain. But instead of taking that pain on ourselves we will force it on those who come behind us. This betrays our deep affinity for comfort and selfishness.
Our country’s deep division
Conservatives get more conservative. Liberals get more liberal. Last night the Speaker of the House was threatening to not make compromises or work with the other side. I’ve heard the same said about our President, though I don’t know if the reports are true. This morning as I sit in a coffee shop I couldn’t help overhearing a man rail against our country because of the results of multiple elections and ballot initiatives. He angrily named all the groups he didn’t think we should pander to. His vitriol poured out promising to fight against everything “liberals” stand for. I pray those who claim to follow Jesus can find ways to be peacemakers in the midst of a divided country.
As so many have eloquently written, our Savior is not from any political party and the kingdom of God certainly does not depend on one (or even on the existence of the United States in any form). Our hope is in Jesus Christ, who was and is and is to come. What I’ve written here is not apart from that, but in light of that. I’m not sure much of what we’re doing, either party, fits well with the kingdom of God. All the more reason that we need to get on with living it in our lives, families, neighborhoods, and communities.