It has been quite an election cycle, hasn’t it? For nearly two years we have been listening, watching, weighing, emoting, and finally voting. Now the wait is finally over and we know the results. As I’ve heard from many of you on FaceBook, in person, or on the phone, it sounds as though your thoughts and feelings immediately post-election range from exuberance to dejection, and just about everything in between. Those were also some of the emotions I saw on my television screen as I watched the returns on Tuesday.
As I’ve been reflecting on the lead-up to the election, and imagining where we all go from here, I was reminded again this morning of our church’s vision statement, drawn from Micah 6:8: “And what does the Lord require of you? To do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
What, if anything, does the Lord require of us as we put this election behind us, as we watch and read the reactions from every segment of our country, as we prepare to inaugurate a new president?
To do justice. Whatever one thinks about the politics of this election, it has been an historic event. No matter who won, we knew we would have either our first female Vice President or our first African American President. Those actualities were amazing, both for the fact that it has taken us so long to get to this place and for the fact that we were going to change the face (literally) of American politics, one way or another. President Bush alluded to that changing face on Wednesday in a very gracious speech in which he said, “It will be a stirring sight to see President Obama, his wife, Michelle, and their beautiful girls step through the doors of the White House. I know millions of Americans will be overcome with pride at this inspiring moment…”
It will indeed be stirring, because when the face of leadership changes to reflect a huge segment of our society that has never been seen in such a high office before, we are also reflecting a part of God’s justice and fairness on earth.
To love kindness. John McCain’s concession speech on Tuesday night was a model for all of us as we look toward one another with kindness in the days and years following this contentious election season. As political ads go away and people pull up their yard signs, we turn to look at our neighbor and may very well see someone who voted differently from the way we did. “These are difficult times for our country. And I pledge to [Senator Obama] tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face,” said Senator McCain. Now is the time to put aside rancor and remember that we voted differently not because some of us have bad intentions, but because we have different opinions about how best to be the country we all love and want to see prosper. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “Live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” Let us view our neighbors with kindness.
To walk humbly with your God. We live in a wonderfully free country, where any adult citizen can vote according to conscience. Let us never take that for granted. As God’s people we take the long view, knowing that God is in charge, whether or not we like the outcome of any particular election. We also know that no elected official, no matter how adamantly we support his election or views, is perfect. All will disappoint and fall short of building a perfect nation, healing our economy, protecting the weak and providing for the public good. And so we offer our prayers and our support to our new President-elect as we walk humbly with God into the next four years, always with hope for a healthy, stable, just and kind society. May God bless and guide all our elected leaders as they serve the people, and may we reflect God’s love as we move ahead with justice, kindness and humility.
© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2008