Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I voted. Did you?

Today is one of the more historic elections in U.S. history. This morning, I took my kids with me to our polling place (they had the day off school), and cast my vote. I couldn't help but feel like I was taking part in history. No matter who wins, it will be either the first black president or the first female vice-president in America's 232 years of history.

I must admit, however, over the last couple of months, I've grown somewhat disheartened by the tone of the political arena in this country. In a recent article in the L.A. Times (hat tip to Get Religion), soon to be retired Fox News anchor Bret Hume reflected on the same:
Hume said he had long planned to cut his workload when he turned 65. His resolve was strengthened as he helmed the campaign coverage this season and found his zeal for the story ebbing.

"The absolute, indispensable ingredient is enthusiasm," he said. "I started to lose mine. This stuff exhausts me as much as it excites me."

The most draining aspect: the ugliness that has come to dominate political debate.

"The whole general tone of politics in this country has turned so sour and so bitter and so partisan," he said, his gravelly baritone more morose than usual. "It makes news, but after a while, it's dispiriting to cover it."

I feel the same way. Which really bugs me, because of all the presidential elections I can remember (of which I’ve voted in at least five, I think), this one had so much about it that is utterly amazing.

I have friends who follow Jesus who have campaigned and are voting on both sides. Personally, I think both sets of candidates have things going for them—and both have things that definitely don’t. And personally, I get why some are investing themselves so heavily with one set or the other. I’ve been there. But I've really been bothered by the condenscending tones and dismissiveness I've witnessed, even among those who follow Jesus. I've written about a lot of this before, so I won't repeat much more here.

All this made it increasingly more difficult as I wrestled with who I should vote for. In my own personal opinion, neither set of candidates embraces Jesus' full gospel, and each of them marginalizes or silences important aspects of it. So, I cast my vote out my best judgement after many days of wrestling.

But I'm not about to say that the set of candidates for whom I cast my vote are the ones God wants chosen--win or lose. In all my wrestling and prayer, the "answers" that came to me really didn't have to do with one set of candidates or the other. Instead, I came back to the trust that God can and will continue to work his plans no matter who wins--as he has done throughout history. The fact that both of these presidential candidates have self-professed a commitment to and faith in him helps a lot in that regard. And no matter who wins, there are important parts of the gospel silenced that those who follow Jesus in both parties will need to confront with calls and stands for right-ness and just-ness. But then, that's what we do anyway, isn't it?

But the bottom line is that my trust doesn't lie with who wins or loses, anyway; it lies with God. And, ultimately, that's what brought me peace.

(Images: U.S. Congress images, public domain)

2 comments:

Lauren W said...

Carmen- why are you able to sum up all of my feeling better than I am? I am reposting this on my blog b/c you say it so much better than I ever could.

Carmen Andres said...

lauren, thank you, and take care!