Friday, January 13, 2017
Don't Let Washington Rule
Oh, the essay's I've written that you haven't read!
I've muddled through a couple of different posts for my blog this week that I never finished, and therefore never published. They were dripping with sarcasm, and heavy with despondency. They would have probably been well-received by some readers, yet summarily rejected by most. And it's not like I mind controversy, or holding an unpopular opinion.
But I'm so, so very much over this election. I'm so over Barak Obama, Hillary Clinton, and especially Donald Trump. This season of politics has been the most disappointing one of my entire career as a member of America's electorate. Not just because of who won, or of who lost, but because both of them managed to get nominated by their respective parties in the first place.
The problem with America right now isn't the politicians we elect, or even nominate. The problem with America right now is us - the electorate. Most of us are so selfish, myopic, and fearful, we exploit whatever we can in the name of freedom to construct our own little fiefdoms. Fiefdoms not just of geography, or even economy, but of religious viewpoint, sexuality, education, race, and even healthcare (or lack of it).
Some religious political conservatives gloat that Donald Trump has been chosen as God's man for this appointed time in America, but they fail to realize that, by the same measures they use to rationalize their claim, Barak Obama was God's man for the previous eight years in America's history.
Then we have liberals with potent voices - such as Hollywood stars and the mainstream media - lamenting the horror of a Trump presidency, even as they ignore the anger within the electorate that propelled a total political neophyte of Trump's caliber into the White House. Donald Trump is many things, but one of the biggest things he is right now is a solid refutation of the past eight years, an epoch that liberals generally enjoyed, and obviously drew a false sense of purpose from.
Meanwhile, precious few people actually seem interested in balancing extreme viewpoints. Compromise has become a four-letter word on either side of the political aisle. It's a lot easier to create a snicker-inducing meme and post it on social media than it is to research - for one's self - various sides of the same issue, and evaluate facts independent of partisan bias. It's more fun to make fun of people we don't like than even consider the possibility - however remote - that we ourselves might be wrong.
So I start writing something, and before long, I've broken so many of my own rules that I impose on myself about trying to remain objective, and refraining from personal insults. Believe me, if I wanted to be a super-popular blogger, with hundreds of thousands of loyal readers, it wouldn't be hard for me to simply parrot the platform of whichever side I wanted to consistently promote, and ridicule anybody who's not standing on it.
I could be cute, or snarky, or bullying, because those things aren't hard to be. And they create buzz. They trigger emotional responses. What's hard is trying not to insult somebody else, especially when I deeply disagree with the things for which they're advocating.
After this past election, I hoped the national mood would simmer down a bit. But that hasn't really happened. Instead, everybody seems to be either bracing for all you-know-what to break loose and sink our ship of state, or they're bursting with anticipation for all you-know-what to break loose and totally sink Washington DC's standard operating procedures.
And yes, while many things in our Washington bureaucracy need fixing, it's like just about anything else we mortals create: 200-plus years of government-building can't be efficiently undone by presidential fiat, or four years of swamp-draining.
Of course, for people of faith like me, the Sunday School answer would be prayer. Praying for everyone in leadership, those leaving leadership, those opposing our new leadership, and those excited for our new leadership. And yes, I've done some of that.
Yet I have this nagging doubt that just because Trump won, which Christ-followers would say indicates that God has anointed him to lead our country, that doesn't mean the good times will start rolling. If, indeed, the past eight years weren't good for the folks who didn't support the man Trump is replacing. Even a basic study of the Old Testament kings who ruled Israel proves that just because God allows something, it's not necessarily enjoyable for us.
Trump's ways are not Washington's ways. But more importantly, God's ways are not our ways.
I'm trying to turn my gaze from Washington to God.