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.