Monday, November 01, 2004
What will become of this nation?
Who will win tomorrow's election? I suspect that we won't know for days - recounts, challenges, revisions, and lawsuits are sure to delay the publication of the outcome. I chuckle every time I recall the name of Jon Stewart's Comedy Central election coverage show that will air tomorrow night: "Indecision 2004: Prelude to a Recount." I chuckle at first, then I shake my head because his words may prove prophetic. I was doing some web surfing earlier today and was thoroughly disheartened by the allegations of voter registration fraud, forms being destroyed, and voters having to go to court to prove their residency in various cities and states. I read about groups planning protests and civil disobedience if the candidate they support doesn't win the election. Those troops not already deployed somewhere in the world will undoubtedly be mobilized in various cities to quell citizen unrest. This afternoon, while walking home from the library with my kids, I explained the Electoral College process to them. Well, I explained it as well as I could; it doesn't make much total sense to me. I told them that when we invade other countries and "establish democracy" there, we never set up electoral colleges, but we allow each vote to count directly in the choice of a new leader. They had the same question that I have: so then why does that system still exist in this country? I would love to understand what would be gained and what would be lost if that system were dismantled. So what will become of this nation following tomorrow's election? Only God knows right now, but we will all find out about a week from now - and then in the four years to follow. I must confess that this has been a disheartening presidential campaign. I have been battered and bruised emotionally, spritually, relationally, and mentally by this whole thing. I have been truly amazed and deeply saddened by how many people I know at both ends of the political spectrum who are so adamant about their chosen candidate that any discussion that presents the other candidate as in any way electable (is that even a word?) is tantamount to religious, personal and moral heresy. I have heard from both sides that if the other side wins, this nation is headed to hell faster than anyone can say "Lord, have mercy," that we are a nation without hope, and that we may as well pack our things and move to another country. I've been urged to fast, to pray, to vote early, and to vote more than once. That was my children's idea; they were disappointed when I told them that's not possible. Well, it's not legal anyway... What's gonna happen to this nation? If the angst and pain and disillusionment and despair that I have heard, seen, read, and even felt in the past few weeks is an indication of what lies ahead for us, then we are a nation on the brink of heretofore unknown division. If we weren't such an apathetic nation, there might even be civil war. But then we'd miss the all-new episode of The West Wing or Wife Swap or some sporting event. The most expensive, negative, fact-checked campaign in the history of our nation will end within 24 hours. I, for one, am glad it's almost over. Sometimes I think about what Bush and Kerry are going through in these final days and hours, and I simply cannot imagine what their blood pressure readings have risen to as they have looked out at the faces of the war-torn, politically divided, economically spent, and spiritually famished nation they claim to want to lead. I don't envy either of them. One thing I know for sure is this: I am committed to praying for peace and justice in an increasingly unjust and bloodied world, for food and clean water in the many hungry, thirsty, and drought-scorched areas of the world, for medicine, medical personnel, and increased health education for the ill and those who care for them, and finally, for Grace and Mercy to help us in our personal, familial, local, national, and universal time of need. With a heavy heart, Gail