Thursday, November 09, 2006

election response

So I stayed up on election night, until it was election late night. I woke up on the sofa when it was post-election early morning, news channel still running a ticker of election results. Then it was time to get the munchkin ready for school. I highly recommend a kindergartener as a great antidote to the election-night hysteria and edge-of-your-seat wait for vote counts (in this case, from Montana, Virginia, and various state/local referenda). Now that I have fallen behind the news cycle yet again, I offer these reflections.

Those of you trying to offer instant analysis of what message the voters were trying to send - please stop. Get a life. I have heard all sorts of answers on this one, and as far as I'm concerned they're all wrong, and they're all right. It's as simple as this: a critical mass of citizen-voters of this nation saw something that angered them, or sickened them, or ... you get the point. These individuals each evaluated the situation, and decided that enough was enough. Their motivations didn't all have to be the same. In electing Democratic candidates, this nation's voters made many individual choices. It wasn't groupthink. It was war. It was environment. It was arrogance. It was health care. It was science. It was friends and family. They relied upon all sorts of indicators that impact their everyday life, including their faith. Read into the election results what you will, but realize that in doing so, you discount the agency of each person who took the time to learn about the candidates, the issues, and go to the polls. Do not diminish your neighbors in that way.

What comes next? My favorite political cartoonist, Tom Toles, channels Charles Schulz - Before the election, and after.

I am encouraged by the get-to-business tone I've been observing from the Democrats. They seem to be acting like grownups. Definitely preferred over "I told you so," or drunken revelry. I believe that the grassroots and the netroots worked their behinds off to make the party's election success a reality. However, we also need to look at what the party has to offer. The Democrats did not win office so much on their own merits, but because they were the most viable alternative.

In that vein, a classmate recently offered this tremendously relevant parable. I cannot claim credit for the idea, but I share it for your reflection: "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the earth. And should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. By itself, the earth produces, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the harvest is ripe, he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come" (Mark 4:26-29)

I hope and pray that our newly elected Democratic leadership in Congress earns this. As always, feel free to disagree. And tell me about it!

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