Friday, November 11, 2016

On America Today

So many people have spoken out on their thoughts about this election. Many are better writers with bigger audiences. I’m not intending to add to the discourse with my post. I just want to record my thoughts. If you’re reading this, welcome to my mind. You can agree with me or disagree with me, but please don’t call me any of the mean names I’ve seen people throw around on Facebook and elsewhere. I am guilty of doing it in private, among friends, because let’s face it, I’m frustrated. I think most of the country is at this point. But I refuse to stoop to that level in a public forum, even if my “public” is only 20 or so readers.

Here are the facts, as I see them:

We live in a broken nation full of broken people.

Honestly, I’m tired of it. Tired of the name-calling, the violence, the undiluted hate. I could say “from both sides” but are there two sides? Really? To some extent I think we all have our own “side.” We have fostered an environment where anything goes, seeking our own pleasure and happiness, “being real and authentic” no matter the cost, even to those we profess to love. Above all, we love ourselves. And now we are beginning to see how this culture of selfishness has eaten away at our identity as a nation. How preaching relative truth eventually causes lives and philosophies so full of contradiction that one might dare to look at it objectively and see hypocrisy. I have seen people preach love, kindness, and acceptance, while also spouting hate, vindictiveness, and intolerance, within the same post. I’m looking at you, liberals. And you too, conservatives. And the rest of you, whatever you are calling yourselves these days. And just in case anyone is worried that I think I’m somehow better, I’ve been tempted to do the same thing.

I read one post telling me everything I don’t understand about why some people are so upset about the results of this election. I had to laugh at the irony and shake my head because I do understand. I am very accustomed to voting for candidates and issues that lose. I fully understand the sense of grief and horror that comes with the realization that this nation is far from where it should be. Our systems are broken. Our people are broken, divided, aggressively opposed to each other over beliefs and ideologies and the horrors we inflict on each other. I have felt that way for 20 years. Please don’t tell me I don’t understand. We may have different beliefs and practices, and I may not really understand why some believe differently than I do. I can respect another person’s background, culture, and beliefs, while still retaining my own conviction that some faiths are wrong, some behaviors are sinful, and that there is one true God and that his truth is absolute. My love for all people leads me to pray every day that I would have opportunities to share my faith and God’s love. Keeping silent is a betrayal of my own belief. If you saw a loved one in danger and you could warn them about what was coming, would it be kind and loving to keep silent and let them make their own choice based on misleading or incomplete information? Would you stand at a distance and argue with them about the danger? Or would you scream in desperation and push them out of the way?

This moment in history is crucial but it is not unique. We didn’t suddenly wake up yesterday morning and find ourselves in an alien landscape. The conflicts we see lived out in the streets and in our families and on social media are not new. This nation is not where we are now because a few voters in a few states chose one candidate over the other. We are where we are because of the last 200+ years of our history. We are where we are now because the vision of the people who founded this nation is crumbling under the weight of selfishness and a multitude of bad decisions. America has always been a land of diversity and we have never handled it well. This was not our one chance to get it right. We have had chances to get it right for over 200 years and we have failed for that length of time.

What Americans need today is not a political answer, we need a savior. That savior is not Donald Trump, or Hillary Clinton, or anyone in any government office. That Savior is Jesus.