You would think I could find something better to talk about on this leap day Monday than politics. Actually, I probably could, but tomorrow is another big day in the election year. Yes, all the media are hyping the possibilities and probabilities along with the odds and percentages of each candidate.
So far none of these "Big Days!" in the election cycle have proven to be decisive. Will tomorrow? Eh!
It would be nice if it did. We could settle down to less hype, although I doubt that would happen or bring about more discussion of issues. That is not happening in this election year. I don't see why things should change. What I have seen is that the "Establishment" of both parties is trying to figure out what to do with this runaway train of dissatisfaction that is threatening the very heart of both party machines.
Chris Christie supports Trump instead of Rubio and Lindsay Graham says that the GOP has gone "batshit crazy." Democrat pundits try to point out the errors in Bernie Sanders' logic, trying to undermine his apparent support. Trump continues to be Trump, what looks like an almost unstoppable ride to the nomination.
The rest of us sit on the sidelines and scratch our heads. I shake my head many times a day when I hear the news and ask
What in the world has happened to our system?I know there have been mud fights like this before. I know that politics has never been a "let's sit down and discuss this like gentlemen" system. At least not when it comes to elections! (And yes, it was almost always men, so the gentlemen is not out of historical context.) But this year seems to have hit a new low, jumped the shark, or whatever superlative description you want to use.
Popular author and pastor Max Lucado did something new and unusual for him last week. He wrote an editorial piece that was published in the Washington Post calling for decency in the campaign. He cited Donald Trump's language and tactics and, rightly, I believe, said that such tactics wouldn't even be fit for a "middle-school election." All these things, Lucado said, are done with the Bible in one hand.
What became the "money quote" for me in the article was this paragraph:
The stock explanation for Mr. Trump’s success is this: He has tapped into the anger of the American people. As one man said, “We are voting with our middle finger.” Sounds more like a comment for a gang-fight than a presidential election. Anger-fueled reactions have caused trouble ever since Cain was angry at Abel.Lucado has never made political statements in public before. He could not, I am sure, sit idly by with these.
Like Lucado I am looking around and seeing this anger-fueled election. And if I think it's bad now, I don't believe we have seen the half of it. I received a robo-call the other day which sent shivers up my spine. It was from some person somewhere who claimed to be a "white nationalist" supporting Donald Trump because we are facing "white genocide" where "beautiful little white children" are being denigrated and killed. He even got in a non-named attack on "Cubans" who are running for president.
We have seen crazy memes on Facebook likening socialism (i.e. Bernie Sanders) to Hitler and Stalin with no awareness of history, politics, or economics. Hillary is easily depicted as the most foul and criminal person ever to run for president.
It is only the end of February. No matter who is nominated in either party, the general election will become a bloodbath of hatred, prejudice, and many other very difficult insinuations and downright declarations.
I can do nothing about it, I am afraid. All I can do is write these posts, send them off as words of hope that we can do something to avoid the pain of what we have been seeing. I am powerless. Not a new idea for me as a recovering person. So in the end I find myself in that extremely difficult position of having strong opinions, strong fears, and a deep, heavy cloud of despair filling the election season around me.
When that happens all I can do is say the Serenity Prayer again.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;I will continue to look for the ways I can do something, praying for the courage to stand up for those things, but also knowing that in the end all I can really do is write these posts, express my opinions, and then vote.
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
I promise I will at least do those.
Maybe we can hope that tomorrow some of this will find some resolution. Maybe we can begin to talk about some of this with a little more decency. I am not hopeful, at least about the public dialogue, however. But maybe, as we ponder these things and look into our own national soul, we can find a way to bring about the change in the election atmosphere that we need.