With the election fast approaching, I’m bombarded with TMPI (too much political information). Does anyone tell the truth anymore? Do they know the truth? Do they even care?
I watched some of the second presidential debate and had to laugh. Moderator Tom Brokaw reminded both candidates they had signed an agreement to keep their responses to one minute. Both proceeded to go over that limit repeatedly with a lot of rhetoric (during the portion I viewed).
It reminded me of a debate for governor years ago. The moderator asked the candidate a question and the candidate tap-danced all around the issue. The moderator reiterated the question, and again got no specific response. Finally the moderator said, “Could you please give us a yes or no?” and the candidate replied, “I don’t know how I could be more clear … .” Clearly!
I’m glad we have the opportunity to see the contenders up close and personal, but are we, the viewers, hearing what’s actually being said, or are we so
ingrained in political-speak and partisanism that we hear only what we want to hear?
When Chandler Woodcock was running for governor, a letter to the editor in a local newspaper said we shouldn’t even be considering him as a leader for Maine because he was a Christian, and what about the separation of church and state and all that?
What about “one nation under God?” Would they have felt that way if he had been Muslim or Buddhist? Would that mean no one of faith should be able to hold any office?
Diamond Rio sings, “In God we still trust, here in America.” One of the lines says, “There is no separation, we’re one nation under Him.” Another reads, “He’s the one we turn to every time the goin’ gets rough.” When the terrorists attacked on 9-11, how many times did we hear, “Oh my God! Oh God! Sweet Jesus! God help us!”? If ever we needed God’s help, it’s now.
What should we be looking for in a leader? Do we want someone who’ll dance around the issues and go with what’ll win them the most votes at that moment? Do we want someone who can glibly promise us a chicken in every pot, no taxes, 100 percent health care coverage, a minimum wage of $60 per hour, and a job for everyone?
The Bible gives some insight on church leadership, which, in my opinion, is appropriate for leadership of any kind. Titus 1:7-9 says, “For an overseer must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not full of passion, not given to wine, not quarrelsome, not greedy for ill gain; but hospitable, a lover of good, discreet, just, holy, temperate, holding fast the faithful word according to the doctrine, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and to convict the gainsayers.” These attributes should be readily apparent in all who serve.
And what about us — we, the people? We should possess these attributes as well. When we cast our vote, it should be because we believe in the candidate, not because we hate the other one or the other party so much we’d do anything to see “they” don’t win.
I recently read a piece by Charlie Reese, former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel newspaper. He makes some interesting points, such as: “One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices — 545 human beings out of the 300 million, are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.”
He acknowledges that, while there are lobbyists and special interest groups, they have no authority, because no matter what they offer a politician, the politician has the power to accept or reject it. It should have no bearing on how any legislator votes. If you want to read the entire piece, Google “Charlie Reese 545 People.” It’s worth the effort.
Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” The Republicans are afraid the Democrats are going to win; the Democrats are afraid the Republicans are going to win. But Philippians 4:6 admonishes us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”
We’ve become a nation of whiners and blamers, but we have a say in who gets elected. It’s time to step up to the plate, take responsibility for our votes, and take responsibility for what happens after that. We must pray for wisdom and guidance so, whatever the outcome, we can claim the promise of 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
If we want to see change in America, we need to start with ourselves.
Brenda J. Norris is assistant Sunday school leader and choir director at the West Lubec Methodist Church. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Voices is a weekly commentary by Maine people who explore issues affecting spirituality and religious life.