The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
~ Deuteronomy 31:8, NIV ~
If I didn’t laugh right now I’d do nothing but cry. I can’t recall any point in my lifetime where the world has seemed so off the rails. Consequently, this election season, the politicians have made America seem especially so. They have literally made so many people lose their minds.
I think it is safe to say that the 2016 presidential election season was one of the ugliest in American history. The name-calling, lies, bitterness, and wrangling reached heights I’d never seen before. People became so enraged that they ended loving, lifetime relationships over elected officials who will be gone before we know it. It was simply shocking and exhausting. I can’t imagine how much we must’ve broken Christ’s heart throughout this past year.
It’s not over
I had expected polarization to decrease after the election was over, but my hopes were quickly dashed. With a nation pretty evenly divided, losers were not going to go quietly. Winners were not necessarily seasoning their behavior with grace either. So many of us craved normalcy, but instead were drowned in continued blame, epithets, and distortions.
Suddenly, as we stand at the dawn of a new administration in Washington, DC, creating hysteria and distress has become an art form. Rhetoric I see going on now would make you think no woman will have any sort of gynecological care. The new majority and administration have no desire to provide education to those with special needs. Adequate health care will not be provided to the poor and disabled. REALLY? Those who seek to benefit the most from this fear inflict it upon the most vulnerable. Families rightfully concerned about issues like health care and special education are being stirred to panic by others with an agenda. The ones stirring the pot either benefit politically or they are the financial beneficiaries of certain legislation. It is maddening to me.
Disagreeing without becoming disagreeable
With any serious situation in life, the ones who can stay calm and rational always seem to garner the most respect. As a result, I think it behooves us to uncover all of the facts before responding. Once we have done that, we can firmly make a case. That sort of engagement is important. Subsequently, if I think that certain parts of the current health care law are so critical that they MUST be maintained, I can write clear, powerful, personal letters to my congressman and senators.
On the other hand, panicking, name-calling, and fostering unnecessary distress in others is counterproductive. In the same example I give above, these tactics would render self-advocacy pretty ineffective. It’s when we lose our cool that we also lose our credibility.
In all of the craziness of this changing of the guard in Washington, my time has best spent in having respectful dialogue with others. Because I realize that I don’t know everything. Asking questions helps me to find facts and rationale behind important positions.
It seems we have become REALLY good at shouting over each other in this country and not very good at listening to one another.
Who will ultimately benefit
Who benefits when we lose our minds at the hands of politicians, as well as the press and special interest groups? They stand to benefit the most from polarization, manipulating us to benefit their agenda. If we continue to play into their hands, being reactive and emotional over every change we may hear coming, we are the ones who lose.
However, if we remember Who ultimately holds our lives in His hands, we win. The calming presence of Christ can help us to slow down. We can step back and assess things with more cogency. Turning to THE Truth will help us discern what is factual in a season of change. And this will in turn help us to state our case without seeming unhinged. Holy Spirit Wisdom will reign.
People are HUNGRY to see the difference Christians can bring to this hurting, fearful culture. Let’s be encouragers and healers rather than angry alarmists in this fractured world. Point to the Reason for hope that doesn’t change no matter who holds public office.