All the votes are in, most of them have been tabulated, and the results are pretty well documented. We are now well into the post-election, smoothing-out period—NOT. It seems like things have gotten even viler than they were in the months leading up to the big day. Now, instead of the candidates attacking each other, the citizenry have picked up the sword.
As one of those nondescript beings the press calls “independent voters,” I look with chagrin at what is going down around me. As one of those lowly creatures the church calls “preachers,” I am horrified. I knew the political class would never really relent, but I always thought the voters would quickly bury the hatchet. I guess that shows my naiveté.
The unlikely knight in shining armor…
When I was a kid, John Kennedy won a razor-thin election when his father reportedly spread just enough money around to tilt a few precincts his way. For whatever reason, Richard Nixon (his opponent) never contested the election. For one shining moment, this man (who would later become one of the most reviled political figures in our history) became a knight in shining armor. I can’t imagine that happening today.
I used to be a political junkie. It was a hobby of sorts. I found it entertaining and even amusing at times. Watching and listening to all the pundits trying to spin their views to actually make sense was great fun.
It’s not fun anymore. It’s downright tragic. I can’t even watch the TV news these days because the actual news is never reported. What we get is someone’s opinion about what the news means (or a debate from two extremists who forgot what objectivity is all about).
We like to say this is all “just politics as usual.” But I think it’s gone far beyond that now. People are getting trampled, friends are becoming enemies, and common sense and decency are going by the wayside. Tolerance has come to mean, “I’ll tolerate you as long as you agree with me.”
“…no one is allowed to win…”
As a pastor, my biggest gripe is that people are getting hurt. I thought I was above the fray, but even I seem to have become a casualty of this war of words. No, I’m not playing the “victim card” here. As the wounded Black Knight in the movie, “In Search of the Holy Grail,” so famously said, “I’ve ‘ad worse!” I’m a big boy, and I can take it. Watching the innocent bystanders get rolled under is what makes my heart ache.
In a society where no one is allowed to win or lose, I guess this was inevitable. It’s inevitable because there really are winners and losers. Raising our kids to believe they (and everyone around them) are always wonderful is dishonest and ultimately frightening.
Years ago, Noel Paul Stookey wrote and recorded a song entitled The Winner. In it, he said, “There’s one thing brings us together…invite the Winner into your heart.” Jesus is the real winner. Without him, we’re all losers.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]