“Just” 137 more days.
That’s how many days we have left (as of today – June 23) in our current political season.
I’m not going to shock anyone when I say that this one has already been a doozy, folks. Within the next 30 days, both the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention will convene in Cleveland, OH and Philadelphia, PA (respectively). And if we thought things were crazy before, just wait ………
Somehow, as a nation, we seem to have forgotten how to compromise, how to share, how to “just get along.” The mudslinging started months ago, first between candidates in the same party. Soon, this will progress to across-the-aisle mudslinging. We will be inundated with ads – on television, on the radio, online, and in our mailboxes – trying to convince us that “the opponent” is wrong. Some of the political action committees and campaigns may even throw in the word “evil.” At this point, it wouldn’t surprise me.
When they go to school, we teach our children to share. We teach them to play nice. We teach them to listen to their teachers – the people who know more than they do, the authority figures – so they can learn and grow. We teach them to listen to their friends so they can build strong and healthy relationships.
And yet what kind of example have we been setting?
As adults – as a nation – we might as well be sticking our fingers in our ears, closing our eyes, and shouting, “La la la la la la!! I can’t hear you!!”
I think our children may be better behaved than we are.
We have forgotten what Scripture teaches us.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks these challenging and unforgettable words: “You have heard that it was said, You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you so that you will be acting as children of your Father who is in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love only those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete.” (Mt 5:43-48)
In his letter to the Christians in Rome, Paul says, “But why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you look down on your brother or sister? We all will stand in front of the judgment seat of God. Because it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to me, and every tongue will give praise to God. So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. So stop judging each other. Instead, this is what you should decide: never put a stumbling block or obstacle in the way of your brother or sister. … So let’s strive for the things that bring peace and the things that build each other up.” (Rom 14:10-13, 19)
We don’t have to agree with each other. We don’t all have to vote the same way or support the same candidate. Our differences are exactly what are supposed to make democracy such a wonderful thing – representatives from all walks of life coming together to build a better city, state, nation, world. But in order to this to work the way that it was intended, we have to remember to be kind to each other and to respect each other.
Even when we disagree.
Even when we are “voting for the other person.”
Even when we have trouble understanding the opposite point of view.