Election 2008

As I sit here watching John McCain give his congratulations to Barack Obama, I think of the life he led for this country. He may not have been your choice, but you cannot doubt that he loves America. Half of the country will not be happy at the outcome of this election but I am reminded of the passage in Romans where Paul speaks of government leaders.

Romans 13:1
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

I wrote here, a long time ago, that all leaders are given their authority to govern by God. I believe this is true – even if they are leaders we do not agree with. All things do, after all, serve his purpose. Not every purpose is apparent to us.

When I was in college at the University of Alabama, I wrote my senior project on black history. I was in a self directed major and a senior project had to be outside of my field of study. It was fascinating to study the tradition of oral history (story telling) that originated in Africa and survived in America. The first generation after slavery brought us the Harlem Renaissance – a cultural explosion that gave us literature, art, and music. Jazz came from that generation, and we can all be grateful.

As the returns started to come in and it became apparent that Obama was going to win the day, I switched over to BET and watched the coverage there. The announcers were very gracious, but also very emotional. Understandable. It is an historic moment. One man, and I did not catch his name, made a very good point. Black Americans did not just elect a black President. White Americans just elected a black President. It’s important to keep this in mind. It took many voters from a broad cross section of the nation to make it happen. Race was not an issue.

Growing up in the South, I have always hated the stigma of racism cast upon us by other parts of the country. Racism exists in every city in every state in every region of the country. No exceptions. To point fingers at one region is looking for splinters and ignoring the planks. If this election means nothing else to this country, I hope it finally helps us move past the idea that racism is an institution. Educated people of all colors can finally let go of the past. The uneducated who cling to it will, hopefully, fade away. I wish sincerely that Obama’s grandmother had lived one more day to see this moment. I am sure she is watching.

I don’t agree with Mr. Obama on the ideas of taxes, class warfare, entitlements, health care, or many other issues (without getting into them all here). However, we need to wake up and pray for him, wish him the best, and try to move forward. I don’t think it is in anyone’s best interest to look to government for answers to personal problems and I hope he will not try to be all things to all people. There will be disagreements – probably many – and a healthy debate is a good thing.

I hope Senator McCain can move on. He was not my candidate in the beginning, but I respect his service to our nation. His selection of Palin boosted his campaign when it looked like he had no chance. She might have emerged too soon onto the national stage, but she inspired the base that was content to wait this one out. There is no disgrace in waging a good fight so long as it is not a wasted fight. I hope he will return to the senate and lead for years to come.

I don’t know what tomorrow might bring, but I do know that America is a young nation and we always have a bright future. Later in chapter 13 of Romans, Paul beckons for believers to wake up from their slumber and he proclaims that we should all put on the armor of light. Maybe this is God’s message to America now. Maybe we, as individuals, are supposed to stand for something again. Maybe we are supposed to pray! However, that is a discussion for another day. For today, I ask for God to bless America and may he bless each of us, prosper us and not harm us, and may he guide the new President and reveal his purpose to us all.

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