Unless you have been hiding under a rock or blasting music through your noise-canceling headphones these last few months, you are already aware that on Tuesday the elections will take place. Many of us have already voted and I pray that all of us who can vote, will vote. But here is an excerpt from a thoughtful article from Pew Research suggesting how election day and the day after will be decidedly different this year.
“On Nov. 3, millions of Americans will trek to their local polling places to cast their ballots for the next president. That evening, after the polls close, they’ll settle down in front of their televisions to watch the returns roll in from across the country. Sometime that night or early the next morning, the networks and wire services will call the race, and Americans will know whether President Donald Trump has won a second term or been ousted by former Vice President Joe Biden. Just about every statement in the previous paragraph is false, misleading or at best lacking important context.”
This year will be different. The results will more than likely not be known that night or for many nights afterward. It is more plausible that there will be political wrangling and legal maneuvering for days if not weeks to come following the closing of the polls. After all we have already been through in 2020, it should come as no surprise that this election will be every bit as troublesome as the rest of the events since January began.
But for people of faith, the outcome of this unusual election may be less important than how we react to it. We have been beating up on each other for many months now. The “left” is degrading the “right” and the “right” is belittling the “left” and the politics of 2020 have gone way beyond attacking each other’s positions, we have been vehemently, and sometimes violently, attacking each other. We do not just hate your point of view . . . we hate you.
So, I suggest a brief primer on how to act after the results are in and the election is over. And what better place to find instruction than in the Judeo/Christian shared text from the prophet Micah.
“God has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
No matter who is elected. No matter what party is in power. No matter which “vision” of America is supported, keep working for justice. Don’t just talk about justice. “do” justice. Find ways to peacefully bring about change that you believe is right even if the elected administration is not one you happen to agree with.
If you have “defriended” people because of their political point of view, how about inviting them back with a note of welcome and reconciliation. I couldn’t be with you on line or in person during the election, but now I think it is time for us to reconnect. Or, what if you invite a former political adversary out to a socially distanced lunch to re-establish conversation that has little or nothing to do with Trump/Biden and everything to do with kindness. You take the first step. Don’t wait.
Walk humbly with your God.
Admit it. We don’t know all the answers. During the run up to the election we presented our issues as cut and dried when in reality we were simply unwilling to accept that there are other valid opinions that are different than our own. We wouldn’t admit that during a partisan election, but we should take baby steps to admit that now. Life is usually not just yes or no, black or white, left or right, but rather a colorful mix of many divergent points of view.
Justice, kindness, and humility are the keys to a post-election outcome that we can all vote for.
Rev. G. W. Blake Blakesley, First Presbyterian Church – Johnstown, Rev. George Blakesley e-mail: [email protected]