Lent, the season of repentance. And we as a nation have much for which to repent these days.
I have made it my practice to get involved in politics to the same extent that Jesus did, which is not much at all. But the political debate in Flint, MI last night was the final straw for me. Federal law requires that I not endorse any candidate, which is just fine because I couldn’t endorse a single one this year anyway.
Listening to a radio show with guest Neil Degrasse Tyson, he failed 2 of the 3 questions posed to him. When asked whether he was disappointed in this, he said, “Had I answered all three correctly, I would have simply proven what I know and learned nothing new. Since I failed twice, I learned two new things, and isn’t that what life is really all about?” As I listened to this, I imagined hearing it from the mouth of any of our presidential candidates, and I simply couldn’t. Vulnerability, honesty, humility… these three things are completely missing from the political rhetoric, and I for one am feeling rather defeated by this.
But I can’t blame this ridiculous circus of a campaign cycle on the candidates alone. We as a people have caused this, turning off any serious policy debate and tuning in only when these people act like 3rd graders on the playground. I have been ashamed at the name-calling, the puerile innuendos, and the lack of any honest discussion of who these people are. The truth is irrelevant so they can say one thing at one gathering if it tickles their ears, and then say the opposite to the next crowd all the while denying any inconsistency. I have been ashamed of both parties, but more so of myself for the part I’ve played in it. When was the last honest policy debate that I watched with as much interest as these playground fights we see today? How have I sided with the underdog, or the overlord, and allowed myself to be emotionally manipulated to support or vilify any candidate? When have I stood for civility, decency, humility, honesty, or absolutely anything redeeming in this race?
Well, repentance is to turn away from the wrong and back to the right, back to God. So today I stand against the hatred, racism, classism, sexism, immaturity, dishonesty and unGodliness of this presidential race. Today I stand for truth, honesty, humility, decency, civility, and Godliness in not only our candidates but in how I talk about them. Today, I want to do anything I can to bring God into this situation (not that He isn’t already there) and more importantly, into my mouth as I speak about it. Each plan, each policy, each candidate has good in him or her, and I choose to work to expand that rather than cry out against (and thereby spread) the vitriol we’re hearing.
So, please vote, but first please pray. Ask God openly who He would have you vote for, and ask Him why. Then obey. And always remember, whoever leads our country in the next years, God is still upon His throne and his plan bows to no one.
Here are some verses that I think are vital to our Christian thought about this current presidential race, and our Lenten prayers this year…
1 Tim. 2:1-2