Whew, it’s over! We’ve had about a week to regroup… the partisan bickering on social media sites has lessened (though not disappeared), and most American’s are moving forward with their normal, day to day lives. Another peaceful vote has come and gone.
Analysis of the election, beginning before the winner was even called, has been abundant and varied. “The GOP Establishment Needs to Wake Up,” reads the title of an article from Real Clear Politics. “Democrats clearly took advantage of these shifting demographics,” says an article in the Denver Post. Some say that we should thank Chris Christie; others that Obama was going to win all along. These things are all partly true, I think. But as a Millennial, and as someone who has proudly voted for President Obama twice now, I have my own analysis.
I think America just put its collective foot down.
We put our foot down against insensitive rhetoric directed at women, especially the victims of rape.
We put our foot down against anti-gay bigotry (and took a step forward towards equal rights).
We put our foot down against the hateful and discriminatory sound bites about immigrants and their children.
We put our foot down against openly dismissing 47% of this country.
Americans said, “Ya know what… the economic recovery may be slow, and I’m still struggling to pay my mortgage, but as an American I just can’t stand for the intolerance of the GOP.”
Admittedly, these are pretty big generalizations, and I know that it’s more complicated. But I understand this election as transformational, even more so than 2008. The reelection of Barack Obama tells me that this country doesn’t want to turn back.
I am reminded of some Scripture from the Gospel of Matthew. It reads, “Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you'” (Matt 12:25-28).
Don’t worry. This isn’t going to turn into another trite suggestion to “work together,” and “unite as a country.” Instead, we should heed the advice from the Gospel. Insofar as we are made in God’s image, we are called above all things to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
We have all seen how toxic and hateful politics can become, and I see great truth in Jesus’ instruction that “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” This gospel teaching maps onto current United States partisan politics quite fittingly, but it also tells us how to interact with others in our families and our community (I, for one, found myself in an argument with a friend’s father this past weekend… at a football tailgate… it wasn’t pretty). We cannot drive out the hate and animosity with more hate and animosity. Rather, we drive it out with the Spirit of God and with love.
With social media still smoldering with hot coals from last Tuesday’s election, it is easy to revert back to fighting tooth and nail. But I don’t believe that God is calling us to bicker with the other side. Rather, “drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God [will be] upon you.”
As always, follow me on Twitter at @MissAnalytical or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.