Reflecting On The 2016 Election Season

Every four years it feels like people lose their minds over the presidential election.

It’s as if the collective psyche of people goes haywire. The emotions and thoughts range in a variety of ways, but it goes something like this… “the last president totally ruined our country, and now we have found someone who will change everything; this person will solve our problems, fix the country, and make our lives comfortable again.” People seem to have a narrow view that simply parrots whatever news channel they religiously watch. It’s hilarious and disturbing all at the same time.

Some people have no room for people they don’t agree with, and they demonize them.

For some people, the world is only as big as those they agree with. There is no room for dialog or doubt. There is no room for someone to correct or critique them. There seems to be this demonization and be-littling of those who think differently. It just might be more important to recognize that your way of thinking is simply one of the variety of ways to think about that thing.

People turn a blind eye to incendiary and racist rhetoric from their party candidate.

If a politician is making racist remarks and offending certain countries, ethnicities, or people groups, why is that not an issue any more? For many white voters who have never once experienced what it’s like to live as a minority in America, a politician’s incendiary rhetoric is no threat to them. They can assume that it’s a joke or something said to get a response. For minorities in America however, a politician with incendiary rhetoric is a scary thing. It’s similar to the verbiage used by Idi AminPol PotBenito MussoliniAdolf Hitler and other crazy world leaders in recent history.

People always find someone or something to blame for their problems.

I have yet to find a candidate who encourages people to take self-responsibility, to encourage humility, to call for civil dialog, or simply show kindness. It seems like politicians want to get elected, and they work very hard to get people to blame someone or something for their problems. No politician who says, “you should work hard, be a good citizen, and take responsibility for yourself,” will ever win. People want their politicians to never challenge them, correct them, or ask anything of them.

People have a romanticized view of the past.

While it’s fun to believe that we should go back to how things used to be, this simply isn’t true. While there is this glamorized view of how things were, this is what the past used to be like: (1) women weren’t given the opportunities that men were given, (2) racism kept people groups subservient and controlled, (3) slavery allowed for people to be viewed as property, (4) native americans were subjugated and forcibly moved, and (5) labor laws allowed for children and minorities to be treated unfairly… etc. It’s a testament to America’s progress that things have gotten better. So while there is still more that needs to change, let’s not keep saying we want to go back to the past.

So here are some things we can do

Be civil and decent to all people, be proud of our country, be kind and loving, seek to understand, spend more time listening, speak respectfully, care compassionately, and embody whatever change it is we wish to see. As Christians, our hope is not in politics, but in Jesus.