The Presidential elections of 2016 have confirmed that our nation, though purported to be “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” is, in fact, one divided nation under God. Politics, ideologies, philosophies, and theologies along with numerous ism’s, classes and schism’s have eroded human civility and simple kindness.
I intentionally muted my voice during the election tumult so my words wouldn't be reactionary, emotional or misinterpreted. The well being of my beloved community is at stake. If it were best for me to be silent, if my words weren’t helpful in the socio-political discourse, then, as my mother taught me, “If you have noting good to say, say nothing.”
I kept my political preferences under wraps and out of the public square. I value friendships I’ve experienced, relationships I am deeply vested in, and friendly, diverse fellowships with which I associate. I know good people and professing Christians have expressed their socio-political views which are, in some cases, starkly different than my own. Now that we have a President, whether or not of our preference, it is certain we have a fractured and divided nation. Vicious campaigning, accompanied by personality degrading and overall vitriol, expands the fissure of the inane and insane.
This national schizophrenia is symptomatic by expressed ideology, selective demography and nationalistic philosophy. Those spitting out political proclamations from progressive, conservative, liberal, independent or pragmatic camps must grapple with the unforgiving reality that life is complicated. We are not alone in the world. Life is not lived in campaign slogans, but in neighborhoods. Foreigners are my next door neighbors and ‘those people’ are our co-workers, siblings, firefighters, police officers and military personnel. They have families - immigrants who forged a new world for their posterity against threats and realities of genocide, religious persecution, and the unquenched thirst for freedom which gives them human rights to the pursuit of life and liberty.
Metaphorically, the divided nation played its election song in sharps and flats. Our democratic process should and must reflect the fusion of its spotted history, troubling present, and optimistic but uncertain future. We’ve denied the sensibilities endowed to us by our creator, and chose to allow personalities to take precedent over policies. We insulted the framers of the constitution by ignoring our origins and commitment to be a global refuge for the huddled masses. Our way of life is a gift as much as it is a responsibility. There are many nations who are not so privileged. Our diversity makes us a superpower. We’ve belittled the diversity of our great nation by giving our darker angles a bull horn to promulgate a separatist doctrine, a doctrine that will be defied by global despots and tyrants who turn on their own people. Our Christian faith teaches that it was an outsider (Samaritan) who gave assistance to the traveler who fell among thieves. The incited seeds of resentment have been sown among social classes. Race, origin and gender politick-ing with alleged foreign interference, alternative facts, fake news, name calling and shame gaming has made our electorate skeptical of any truth. Neither side, neither candidate represented the best of our nation, and yes, ashamedly and admittedly, we've all been bamboozled.
America hasn't achieved a post racial mentality in its post modern era. We’ve failed to lift concern above clamor. Our bright city on the hill is on life support. Our new president and his former contender shoulder equal blame for executing the political nuclear option on the country both claim to love. These well heeled, mutually flawed individuals will survive the war they fiercely contended in; however, the stain on our national profile, the death of our national and moral soul, and the impact on our collective psyche is incalculable.
The campaign has been like watching mom and dad get a divorce and drag the kids into the fight to choose sides without either recognizing the painful impact on the family! Winning at any cost is very costly. We’ve not turned a new page in personal politics; we’ve written a new book on viciousness. We've started a new chapter on dirty dealing and unrelenting despicableness for the sake of victory. Principles vanished in the face of politics, friendships faded in the glare of yard signs, and churches conflated religion and rule of law. Thus, we seem to be irreparably conflicted and defined by our political iconography.
Who wins? Not the nation that had lofty ideas of a “republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and JUSTICE FOR ALL?” We've decided, instead, through an election whose voice was louder, whose campaign was better, but not whose lives matter. Elections have consequences. We will live with the irreversible outcomes of this election, while praying for the success of this administration and the restoration of our beloved community.