Election Season Blues
I’m going to admit it. This election season has made me more anxious than I ever remember being during an election year. I’ve spent WAY more hours on Facebook than I should have. I’ve gotten sucked into threads and have found myself responding with long, impassioned posts – something I normally don’t do as Facebook really isn’t the greatest place for debates.
Most years, while I may not be crazy about our candidate, I haven’t suffered much angst voting for him. This year has been very different.
When Donald Trump first appeared on the scene, I kind of looked at him as comic relief. After all, the man was orange and had the weirdest hair in the history of political candidates. And let’s face it – he had some great one liners. I can always appreciate sarcasm at its finest.
But I didn’t think it was serious. I thought he’d fade away and drop out, having had his moment of fame. That wasn’t what happened though. Soon, I realized that he was going to be a real contender, and I had to look my convictions squarely in the face. Was all that talk about character mattering really just talk – or did I believe it?
Yet, the alternative was unimaginable – Hillary in the White House seemed synonymous with the apocalypse. I went from NEVER Trump to MAYBE Trump, and my perch on the fence of indecision seemed both precarious and terribly uncomfortable.
Teetering on the Fence of Indecision
I would make up my mind to jump off firmly on one side of the fence, only to read some fiery post or article and find myself swaying toward the other side of the fence. It made me anxious and upset. More than that, I felt both sad and angry that it had all come down to the choice of Hillary or Donald.
It seems this whole election has been made up of this weird fence-perching for me.
When the now notorious recording of 2005 came out, I wasn’t really surprised – horrified, yes. Surprised, no.
Was anyone really? The man owns a strip club. He’s on his third wife who is young enough to be his daughter and looks like a super model. I could be way off base here, but I sincerely doubt that Trump chose Melania because of her personality. He’s been on Playboy’s cover. He’s pals with Howard Stern and been a guest on his show. (For those of you who don’t know who Stern is, he was very popular radio personality when I was in my 20s and made a huge name for himself by basically objectifying women in the most demeaning, degrading ways possible).
I know all the arguments – who are we to judge? You don’t know about the other candidates morals really. That’s true, but I’m only responsible for what I DO know. What I knew about Trump’s character made me queasy.
At the same time, I was appalled and angry at the utter hypocrisy of people who were outraged by Trump’s words, yet touted 50 Shades of Grey as great entertainment, and who crucified the women who accused Bill Clinton of not just talking about assaulting women, but actually doing it. Megyn Kelly at Fox News eviscerated Trump for his ugly remarks, but she posed for GQ in very provocative poses. I wanted to ask her what she thought men were thinking about her when they looked at those pictures. It probably wasn’t about how intelligent she was or what great reporting skills she had.
Our whole culture is saturated in sex. Trump is just a product of that environment – not an anomaly. I’m not sure why so many were horrified when you can’t check out at the grocery store without being visually assaulted by women’s body parts, and yet media outlets’ sensibilities seemed more sensitive than my grandmother’s.
Too Many Voices in My Head!
Then there were the various articles, tweets and pleas from various Christian leaders. There were the ones that told us we were idolizing America if we were patriotic at all. It was implied we couldn’t really love Jesus or be very spiritual if we voted for Trump. Then we were told that we couldn’t really love Jesus (or America) and were self-righteous prudes if we didn’t vote for Trump – that if we didn’t vote at all or wrote someone in, we would be personally responsible if Hillary became President.
No wonder the anxiety rates during this election season have reached an all time high. No wonder people want to just pull the covers over their heads until November 9th!
I don’t know if you remember the song, “Stuck In the Middle With You,” but the lyrics that have kept running through my head this whole election cycle are: “Clowns to left of me, jokers to the right, here am I stuck in the middle with you.”
Coming to Some Conclusions
This past week, I’ve just sort of pulled back and thought and prayed about all of this, and I’ve come to a few conclusions.
- There will be life after Nov. 8th. November 8th is not the end of the world as we know it. I promise. On November 9th the sun will rise and set just like it did on November 7th. Everything we know will not come to an immediate, screeching halt. No matter who wins, life will go on. It may change a bit as time goes on, but it will go on.
- Which brings me to my next conclusion – once the election is over, both candidates will go on with their lives, and they probably won’t care what happens in yours. They won’t care if you burned every relational bridge in your life and sacrificed your witness for Christ to support them. The person who wins will be thinking about their inauguration and who will be in their cabinet. The loser will think about his or her next steps. Neither will personally care or thank you for alienating everyone in your life because you spent the election season calling people names and telling them how they just don’t love Jesus enough if they didn’t or did vote for Trump or Clinton.
- While we are talking about loving Jesus, please stop judging others love and desire and commitment to Christ based on who they do or don’t vote for. Seriously. One of my gifts is seeing things from others people’s perspectives. (It’s also my biggest weakness but that’s another post for another day). There are reasons – legitimate ones at least to that individual – why someone chooses to vote for Trump, not vote for Trump or even vote for Hillary Clinton. Really. We gain nothing by starting any statement, “A real Christian would never…..” or “Someone who really loves Jesus would…..” When November 9th roles around, we will still be the body of Christ. We will still serve the same God – TOGETHER. We gain nothing by hacking at various body parts because they aren’t behaving the way we think they should.
- So, that brings me to what I have finally decided about my own vote – don’t let FEAR be the deciding factor for you. One thing I’ve seen a lot of (and felt myself!) is fear, but the Bible tells us that that fear is NOT from God.
If you look and pray about all the information and decide Trump is who you want to vote for, then do so. If you look at everything and pray and decide that you will write in a candidate, then do that. Just make sure you are doing so with the clear view that no leader will “fix it.”
The truth is there is a bigger calendar than the one we look at everyday. It’s God’s calendar, and as we move toward the inevitable conclusion of time as we know it, certain things have to happen – and some of those things won’t seem too great at the time. Leaders – no matter how much we may like them or think they have it going on – are still ultimately only human. All through this election I keep coming back to this verse in Psalms.
5. However, even as you don’t let fear take over, even as you refuse to put your faith in frail humans, that doesn’t mean you can’t be sad as you look around and see America changing. I’ve heard people accused of idol worship just because they express sadness or anger over the way things are changing in our society. (Because, you know, calling people idol worshipers always brings you together in unity.) It’s okay to mourn a way of life or a crumbling culture. It’s okay to be sad when sin is glamorized and righteousness is demonized. Idol worship is NOT feeling heartsick at the realization that your children and grandchildren will be raised in a completely different country than the one in which you grew up. I would assume, the older you are, the more glaringly obvious these differences are.
6. It’s okay to be sad, so long as you remember that God is still on His throne. It’s so easy to look at circumstances and feel discouraged and helpless, but God is still sovereign. He is still on His throne. NOTHING that happens takes Him by surprise. In fact, He knew long before it happened. I know – sometimes I forget that too in my little finite human brain. Another verse that has meant a lot in my own life has taken on bigger significance in recent months.
Let’s not all miss what God is doing because we are too busy pointing fingers and worrying during this election season. Instead, let’s show the whole world, Jesus really IS the answer.