Believe me, I’m as guilty as anyone on either side of our current civil war of getting completely transfixed with doing my part to win it. It just kind of comes with the territory of caring about your country, I guess. We are all concerned with the question; who will win the war? But from time to time, I touch base with another question that is at least as important, if not the most important: Who’s going to win the peace?
We will all begin to shift gears after the elections in November. No matter what the results of those elections, a significant percentage of our nation’s population will be absolutely distraught. In a nation already more divided than I have ever seen it, this is a troubling thought. If my worst fears become a reality, then I am gravely concerned about what a post-November, 2020 America will look like. If the election goes the way I’d like it to go, our governments on the national, state, and local levels will transform from Red to Blue in many areas. If that happens, I am very fearful that any elation my side might have will be cut short by domestic terrorism like we’ve never seen before. I truly fear that the bloodshed will be widespread and devastating. I wish I could say that I might be exaggerating my fears, but I don’t believe that I am. But on the other side of the same coin, if my hopes for the election are dashed and Trump and the GOP score major victories, I have equally disturbing fears for the fallout from that potential eventuality. In that case, I could see large numbers of well-to-do progressives giving up on America, unable to face another four years like we’ve been experiencing, and becoming expatriots in Canada or Europe. Any sort of mass exodus like that could cripple the progressive movement that remains and solidify the stronghold of the far-right on American policy, foreign and domestic. If that happens, this country could be irreversably damaged.
All Americans are engaged in this war, regardless of the status of their faith. However, since the majority of American citizens still identify as a Christian of one form or another–I count myself in that number–I want to speak to them. We claim to follow the teaching of Jesus. Some sects of Christianity seem to have elevated the teachings of Paul to an equal, if not higher standard, but that’s another article altogether. If we truly follow Christ, it should follow that we would be on the same page of the most important parts of our faith. One of the most lovely descriptors used for Jesus is the Prince of Peace. What would Jesus think if He browsed your social media feed? What would Jesus think if He read all those comments you leave on other people’s posts when you feel empowered by a false sense of anonymity? What would Jesus think of the things you mutter under your breath about your brothers and sisters on the other side of this war?
Before I go on, let me assure you that I am convicted by my own set of questions. Don’t think for a minute that I hold myself above the accusations implicit in those questions of my own design. But at some point, we are going to have to face the answers to those questions. We have another nine months to slug it out before the elections and then we are each going to find ourselves on either the winning or losing side of the war. On the other side of that moment, the question changes. Who will win the peace? Will the winners gloat and laugh and mock, or will they breathe a sigh of relief and roll up their sleeves and get to work on building bridges of empathy? The answer will absolutely determine what kind of nation this becomes.
So the question again becomes, what would Jesus do?
Who will win the peace?
I don’t know what the answer to that question is, but I think we’ve been overlooking it for far too long.
It’s time to start seriously thinking and fervantly praying about it.