Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Campaign Season

I shuddered when I wrote that title. I'd much rather write about children trick or treating, or the beautiful autumn leaves blowing across the highway outside my window. The best thing I can say is it's all over, at least for the next few months. Of course, with 2016 comes a presidential election, so I'm afraid our respite will be short-lived indeed. Before long, new candidates will be popping up, and the frenzy of campaigning and media coverage will start all over again.

I find it depressing to think of modern campaign tactics: all the negativity, the politics of fear, the misinformation, and half-truths. Back in the '60s when I was a kid (that's right, back when we walked to school, uphill, both ways; no, we weren't the ones who had to wear trash bags over our feet; that was our parents), politics seemed a more noble game, a little more civil. Candidates spoke more eloquently about the positive changes they would make; they showed respect for their adversaries. Throwing mud at other candidates was classless, a sign of desperation.

Sure, it was all probably naïve, contrived and artificial. But at least I had the impression I didn't have to hold my nose to vote, reluctantly pulling the lever for the lesser of two or three evils. Campaign seasons -- and the elections that follow -- now give me the impression we're just putting a new crop of horrible, self-interested people in office because, well, that's all we have to choose from.

I wonder if that's why the U.S. Congress typically has such low public approval ratings. Maybe that's why government comes across as a necessary evil.

The apostle Paul once wrote a letter to the believers in the Washington D.C. of his time. In Romans 13 we read, "Rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer" (Romans 13:3-4).

I love that phrase: "He is God's servant for your good."

In this month where we pause to give thanks for God's gifts to a broken world, I want to start by giving Him thanks for our government. No, it isn't perfect. We have imperfect people doing imperfect jobs --just like me trying to do mine. But God has a very important purpose for our government: maintain law and order and thwart those who would bring disorder, crime and chaos. A government for the people can offer its citizens the chance to live peaceable lives, a society where they can follow their beliefs freely in a society without restriction.

I'll enjoy our short respite from campaign ads, and give thanks for all God does for us through our government. And I encourage you to join my prayers that God will uphold our leaders, guide them to just decisions, protect them from vanity and deception, and give them clarity and purpose.

Please share your thoughts about our government and the election process. You can post your thoughts here: click here!

1 comment :

James Hutson said...

Our form of government is a highlight for us as Christians, either those who are in public service or those who vote for the representatives that will serve. I say that because we have the ability as children of God to represent our fellow humanity in good report, speaking the truth and representing well what the citizens decide by giving them the knowledge they need to be represented well, and as voters, because we have the ability to vote our morals, faith and values in the candidates we are given....but then, it is a larger responsibility and charge as well, to have those who are the most servant-minded of us serve in the government and be of good moral, ethical and personal character and as voters to demand said people run. We have allowed the system to be corrupted by money and authority rather than having the best of us serve. It is my intent and finger that issues this charge every time I vote....and then, when the results are final, I exercise my power as a child of God to hold my representatives accountable, blessed, and prayed for as they struggle to lead this diverse nation into the future.