Tuesday, November 6, 2012

When the Smoke Clears

As you read this, the polls will be closing soon and the news media will be rushing to be the first to determine the winners and losers in this hotly contested election. Everyone seems to anticipate a very close presidential vote. And apparently, the vast majority of Americans are solidly in one camp or the other, leaving a relative handful of undecided voters to pick the winner. With such strongly entrenched opinions on both sides, the rhetoric has continued to escalate week by week. In spite of countless commercials suggesting otherwise, I am confident that neither candidate is the antichrist and neither candidate is the savior of the world.

Whoever is elected, what happens next? My concern is whether or not our country still possesses the willingness and ability to come together in support of our leadership, new or returning, and work for a brighter future. We have witnessed in our recent history the futility and frustration of partisan political wars. Instead of focusing on consensus-building and finding our common ground in order to address our country's needs and solve our growing problems, we have seen stonewalling and finger-pointing and an unwillingness  to compromise, party before country, power before progress. And both parties are to blame for this sorry state of things. This is the nature of our political landscape in America these days.

I heard a political commentator say last night that if Romney wins, he will be elected with the smallest percentage of minority votes of any president in history, and if Obama wins, he will be re-elected with the smallest percentage of white votes. I find that troubling, even disturbing. No one wants to suggest that race plays a major part in how many people feel in this election, though I did hear John Sonunu suggest that Colin Powell's endorsement of President Obama was based on race.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting that everyone who votes for a person of their own ethnic background is racially prejudice. People support or reject political candidates for any number of reasons, hopefully including a careful consideration of their positions on important issues. But I do wonder if possibly sometimes, some people might be subtly influenced for or against a candidate on the basis of their cultural and ethnic biases.

Here's a question to ponder: Would it make any difference to you if Mr. Romney was African American or Hispanic or Asian? Would you feel any differently about President Obama if he were white? I know that most everyone would be quick to answer, "No! Of course not! I'm no racist!" But do think it over. We may be more influenced, even in subtle, subconscious ways, than we are willing to admit. The numbers don't lie. Apparently, at least for some if not many, race is a significant factor.

So when the smoke clears no matter who wins, we will all have one president. One president, not to reject and belittle, not to resist and frustrate, not to work against and undermine. One president to hear and support, to work with and to pray for, to help renew and rebuild our land. I know we will have disagreements and some issues will always be divisive. But I am praying that we can find again that which truly is the heartbeat and genius of a democracy - when the smoke clears, we are one.       

2 comments:

Brent Cloyd said...

I will take your thoughts as points well taken. Indeed whatever happens it essential that we work together on some common problems to our society. But I will ask another question. President Obama, whether elected or not will recieve 95% of the African American vote.How many of them voted for him simply because he was black? If it is fair to consider that racism might be a factor in some people voting against the president is it not also fair to consider that racism is a factor in one group that votes for him?

Drew Hill said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Brent. Racism in any form is wrong and unchristian.