Perhaps it’s my Gen X sensibilities, but I don’t trust politicians or the American political process that much. I don’t publicly endorse candidates for any office, thinking that one day they’ll let us down. And after the 2000 elections, my trust in the American political process was buried deep in the sands of the ocean bottom, where Florida’s hanging chads probably reside. Even blogging about politics isn’t my style. Though it’s true, perhaps I get overly religious when I say our best hope lies in Jesus.
Now, I’m not the type to threaten to move to Canada when our government blows it either. It’s beautiful country up there, but I do like it here. But deep down, I often felt that something was wrong with politics. Many of us did. Our leaders seemed more interested in making their names great or chasing their libido rather than caring for the welfare of their citizens. Self-indulgent earmarks made their way into budget proposals and bills. Indiscretions, either with boy pages or high-class prostitutes, gave the media something to profit from. It was hard to think that we’re in good hands.
But Tuesday has given me a glimmer of hope . . . though in a different way than you might think.
It’s not because of who got elected. I still don’t trust politicians much. But my heart swells — well, as much as an Xer will allow — when I think about our political process. On Tuesday, we mandated a radical shift in the direction of our country, domestically and internationally. And no matter how you feel about that change, change did happen and we did it without violence or bloodshed. Historically and in the light of current events, that’s just plain rare.
On top of that, in what other Western country, would the people rise up and cut through racial divides to vote for a biracial President-elect, who’s also a product of a broken home? We actually did it, and unlike in 2000, there hasn’t been any controversy about it. At least not yet. And for all of Europe’s progressiveness, they haven’t been able to do this. It really says a lot about the American people: over 115 million voted, and collectively, we empowered the leader whom we thought would best exemplify change — regardless of melanin content. Martin Luther King Jr’s dream started to ring true: we didn’t judge by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character. Yes, for the first time in a long time, I felt a little hope for America.
Sure, I already mentioned that I don’t threaten to move to Canada. But it’s probably clear that I’m not a flag-waving zealot either. Even with the little knowledge I have, I’m acutely aware of our faults as a country, and the damage we have done in the name of greater good — though it was clearly etched in self-interest. And I don’t make the mistake of equating America with the Kingdom of God. This isn’t a Christian country, no matter how much we’d like it to be.
But I am an American. And I know and pray that God can redeem all things, under heaven and on earth, even governments. And on that fateful Tuesday, the greatness of our political process shone like a brilliant jewel. No matter how people voted, it’s clear that our form of democracy has to be one of the most significant inventions of government in history to elect the person that it did. And for a minority community that had been enslaved, lynched, and discriminated against by people in this country — and the government itself — for centuries and as recently as 40 years ago, Tuesday must’ve felt like redemption. Many of their leaders placed their lives in Jesus’ hands and yet sought to make a humble, peaceful and courageous difference in their country, most apparently through the Civil Rights movement. Now, within their lifetime, their own eyes witness this country elect one of their own. And now, all Americans can call him one of our own as well.
Now I don’t claim that Obama is Jesus’ choice, though some who are less discerning may confuse between the two. But no matter how you voted on Tuesday, please keep our President-elect in your prayers. Given our current malaise, he’ll definitely need them.
yes! thank you for saying this. i couldn’t have said it much better for myself :)
and it was great to see you last weekend!
I really don’t think that Obama would be Jesus choice for President as he says he wants to immediately reverse Executive Orders regarding Stem Cell Research which will involve the renewed slaughter of untold unborn human fetuses.If this is going to be one of his First Great acts upon taking office,I think we all have reason be frightened.
I agree with most of what you say, but I have to point out that while Obama is strictly-speaking African-American, implicit in the following quote,
“And for a minority community that had been enslaved, lynched, and discriminated against by people in this country — and the government itself — for centuries and as recently as 40 years ago, Tuesday must’ve felt like redemption.”
is that he is “Black.” While he still certainly grew up as a minority, he certainly did not grow up as a “Black American.” It is certainly wonderful that we have elected someone not based on their color but the content of his character, I would not suggest that this is not as sterling a triumph for the Black community, quite unfortunately. The racial divide in simple things such as income and poverty rates is still unacceptable. Electing someone by the content of their character is a start, but we (obviously) still have room for improvement.
Hi Eric —
True, we still have room for improvement. Absolutely. I didn’t mean to imply that all is well.
But I don’t understand why you would say that he didn’t grow up as a Black American? What is your criterion? Do all Black Americans grow up the same way? It seems you’re hinting at some socio-economic measures. Is this what you mean? Or is it because he’s biracial? Would you help me figure out what you meant?
Sure, he spent three years in Indonesia growing up, but most of his experience was in Hawaii, then LA, NYC, and then Chicago. In each place, he connected with the black community, particularly in Chicago. And the black community has embraced him as their own (though the older leaders may have needed more time).
Even so, I guess I don’t understand why this would somehow smudge his accomplishment relative to the black community? Would you help me understand what you mean?
Hi Eric — check this out on the New York Times:
You are a breath of fresh air – keep on keepin’ on! Don’t get suckered into a debate on who is more righteous – there is no winner as we are all broken.