We are fast approaching another critical time in our nation’s history. While all elections are important, the Presidential election carries the significance of national direction. The time leading up to the election creates reflection on the past and anticipation of the future.
Who is on trial?
The elections create tension upon us as a people which reveal where we place our trust. Emotions run high as the tension draws out fear, passion, and hope for the future. In so doing, they are a good test of our character as a people. The way we evaluate the candidates and argue our political positions becomes a self-imposed test on our own nature. We think the candidates are on trial, but we cannot participate in the political process without being on trial ourselves.
What sort of person will our next President be?
We wonder if the incoming President will be one who could lead a nation through turbulent times and into a safe harbor. But do we wonder if we will be a people who will work together as a nation supporting and respecting our President through thick and thin? We want an honorable President, but will we be a people who honor our leaders?
What about those who do not vote?
Will we worry about the people who do not vote, or will we vote in such a way that we consider their interests as well as our own? Not everyone has the wherewithal to vote. I observed a tired woman sitting down to eat her lunch during her lunch break on the day of a state election. A young man asked her if she voted. She responded that she did not even know there was an election. She said she had a hard enough time trying to get to work on time and through her day to also add getting to the polling booth. Her weariness evident, she continued to talk to the young man who expressed his own lack of interest in voting. He voted in the big elections, but only because his Wife wanted him to. His disinterest bore a degree of flippancy and neither seemed to know much about its relevance to their lives.
Will we be those who blame others?
My reflections upon this conversation were two fold. One if I shared it in my writing as I was wont to do, people would get irritated at the two. People would feel these were those that contributed to the delinquency of the nation. I don’t believe that to be the case. To me, it is more necessary for the woman to focus on getting to work each day and paying her bills at this point in her life. As for the young man, he did not know enough about voting to be a responsible participant in electing local and national representatives. I do not wish either person to be seen as what’s wrong with America. Nor do I want to illicit those who wish to blame the system or any other group. Blame stunts our ability to respond well to the way things are.
What does it take to be a voter?
My thoughts continued to traverse the matter of why these two were unable to vote. Voting requires education. It does not require a college degree, but it requires knowledge about what makes a good government representative. It also requires understanding of what skills are needed in our representatives for the present local and national climate. This is why in Europe only the landed gentry voted. Only they had the necessary knowledge, for their own status and holdings required such knowledge.
In America we permitted every man, and later every woman, to vote. All were to be an educated and self-governing people who are able to vote. There are many reasons why we are not in this situation today, but blaming those who do not have the wherewithal to vote will not correct the problem. To move forward, let us begin to teach the principles requisite for a great nation. We can teach children and adults of all ages. Chances are, many of our voting population, have little more understanding than those just trying to get from one day to the next. Maybe we ought to be more concerned about who is voting, than who is not.
Will we be problem solvers?
It is easy to point a finger at the problem; it is difficult to be the solution to a problem. When a particular problem keeps arising in our minds, it is most likely so that we begin to solve it. We can only fix the problems we have jurisdictional authority to solve. We can educate people about the growing border crisis, but if we do not have influence over people in that department of our government, it is probably not the problem God has given us to solve.
Can one President save the nation?
There are a myriad of national issues that are busting at the seams. No President is going to lead the nation to solve them all in one or two terms. It would be more astute to determine what issues are for today and vote for the best person who can lead in those areas. That person may not be a Christian. The person may not even be of our own political party. The issues are piling up and we want them all resolved with expedience, but we did not get here overnight. If you try to turn a large ship too quickly you will break it.
The Founding Fathers faced the national problem of slavery while they were deliberating during the Constitutional Convention. They resolved to create a compromise between the states so that they could have the states ratify the Constitution. This way they could leave the problem for another day and yet create the framework that would allow for it to be resolved in the future. If they had made it a problem for that day the Revolutionary War would likely have been followed by the Civil War before the fledgling nation ever formed its government.
We are facing situations that have been years in the making. We need leaders, both governmental and private, who can navigate the issues without being distracted by those which are for another day. This also requires a people who can let go of our pet political issues for the greater good of the nation. If we want to run in head first and fight every fire that burns across this nation, we will not have enough buckets of water. But if we slowly remove the fuel from the fires by working at them steadily over the course of years we will see results. Faster methods are no better than get rich quick schemes.
What are we looking for in our next President?
Let us look for the candidates that are not promising to move heaven and earth to fix the nation. Let’s look for the one person who has one or two fires to focus on and has a plan to do so. Who is telling us what they cannot do, rather than what they can do? Who is telling us what is not their job, instead of what promises they can make? Who can see the long haul and not just their own campaign? Who is more interested in us electing the best person for the job, then us electing them? Maybe none who fit this caricature have arisen, but it can still be our criteria.
Who will we be as a people after the Presidential Election?
Lastly, who will we be under the next President? What if our preference is not elected? What if the person goes against everything we stand for? Will we be an honorable people? Will we berate the new President as we have President Obama? Or we will be a different people who will not lose hope because our President doesn’t share our values? Having a good President is important, but having a righteous people who hope instead of despair and love instead of hate is more important. I’m not concerned about what the unrighteous do; God looks at the righteous when He looks at a nation. What sort of people are we to be through this election and into the next Presidential term?
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