Saturday, November 8, 2008

Election Reflections

I've had a few days now for thoughts about the presidential election to float around and lump together in my head, so it's time share a few of them.

  • First and foremost, I agree that as a Christian I am commanded by God to pray for the leaders that He Himself has sovereignly appointed for us. The Biblical commands to do so are perfectly clear, and I don't get a pass even when I don't like or agree with God's choice. There's no room for the "he's not my president" mentality. God may indeed have placed Obama in the presidency to demonstrate His ability to change and redeem. We must pray to that end.
  • However, that said - that does not mean that Christians are to take a deterministic "whatever, God's in control" attitude and not hold our new president accountable to governing righteously. Just as I don't get a pass in praying for Obama, he doesn't get a pass from me in being criticized where it's due. That's the freedom, even the responsibility we have as followers of Christ in a democratic republic.
  • Much has been and is being made of the election of the first African-American president. I have to agree that this in and of itself is a significant event. While it's hard for me to identify with the full importance of it to the Black and minority community, I recognize the historical impact. But it seems that all the talk about this event being a nail in the coffin of racism in America, a moment that puts us in "post-racial" times, seems to be making just the opposite point. So many references to Martin Luther King's dream being fulfilled. But was it? Remember King's words, looking for the day when a man was "not judged by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character." But to listen to so many before and now after Obama's election, that is indeed not the case. There's been an underlying assumption all through the campaign that any questioning of Obama's policies, positions, experience or past was somehow a racial attack. Is this really "post-racial"? Seems to me to be just the opposite. A point well made by Diana West in a recent article, where she begins "if we really inhabited a "post-racial" world, the news of the week would be that a Democrat has won the White House." Exactly.
  • I don't think anyone can plausibly deny the Obama-ward tilt of the media in this election cycle. The lack of depth in coverage of issues like Obama's background and relationships with the likes of Ayers, Wright and Rezko, the complete pass given someone like Biden, and in return the nit-picky and intrusive attack journalism agaisnt Palin were all clear signs that any illusion of an objective, watch-dog mainstream media in America is long gone. It remains to be seen whether Obama and Pelosi/Reid will pursue a return to the "fairness doctrine" to further quash any dissenting media outlets.
  • And the really interesting - and telling - events have been Obama's actions since being elected. As he begins to show his real colors, which were so well hidden by his media lap-dog during the campaign. First pick for chief of staff - Rahm Emanuel. One of the most partisan and abrasive personalities on the Dem side of Washington. So this is unity? Hmm. I think it's clear that Obama's brand of unity only comes by agreeing with him.
  • On the other side, though, is the fact that the Democrats received nowhere near the "mandate for change" that was predicted. Obama's narrow win in the popular vote (52-48) and the less-than-expected adds to both houses of Congress show that even though the election leaned Dem, the country is not firmly behind the people and policies espoused by the left end of the political party. And reality is that due to the current state of economic stress, Obama and company will have precious little ability to expand government revenues and reach. The Democrats were largely the beneficiaries of timing of the economic problems and dissatisfaction with Bush. They would do well to keep this in mind as they plan their first steps.
Challenging, interesting times lie ahead. And for those of us who are believers in Jesus Christ, yet more fresh opportunities to proclaim His Gospel and glorify Him as we continue to trust not in our government, but in our King.

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