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Election Morning Reflections

November 4, 2008

So here we are: election day morning. It rained last night so the ground is still wet but there are fantastic clouds of mist swirling low on the foothills as the blue sky pokes through. Another glorious day.

It seems like this campaign began on Jan 20, 2004. It’s been much too long. I’d be tempted to say (a la Screwtape) I would be glad just to see it end either way, but then again I know some changes are for the better, some for the worse.

I’ve been anxious about this election, obviously, though perhaps not quite so much as this outlet for my anxiety would indicate. It all goes here. That way it doesn’t spill out into my meat space relationships; my wife, my kids, my co-workers, my friends.

I’ve discovered that I have the spiritual gift of discernment in the last year or two; living up to that gift is the task of the next several years if not more. But I’ve found it doesn’t always apply to politics. Obviously, I have my preferred candidate, but I don’t really know what is “supposed’ to happen. God can use all kinds of circumstances to further His purposes.

The most interesting moment for me personally during this campaign is when I pulled the lever (metaphorically- we use inka vote) for Mitt Romney in the primary. I did this I think primarily because of the advocacy of Hugh Hewitt. It was a half-hearted vote. I had voted for John McCain in the 2000 primary, and that was probably the first time I was excited to vote for somebody. In the intervening years, his maverick schtick grew a little tiresome for me, but I never lost respect for the man, despite Hewitt’s dislike of McCain the Senator (as opposed to McCain the man).

Anyway as I made my vote something happened that never happened to me before. I had a huge pang in my heart, which only grew larger as I made my short walk home from the polling place. I knew I had made the wrong descision. In my heart that “still small voice” – if that’s indeed what it was – said “John McCain is the next President”.

Message recieved. I will always strive to listen to that voice in the future. I thought I had been able to parse and process the views of the pundits I enjoy into my own point of view, but this was a reminder that there was more work to do.

At any rate, I have not forgotten that voice, and it will be interesting, in view of my supposed gifts, to see what happens today.

As far as the anxiety goes, on Saturday I had some sort of epiphany, and have felt a sense of peace and relief ever since. That does not mean McCain is going to win, or that if Obama wins, I now believe he will govern as a moderate. It’s just a sense that there are yet greater forces in play than meets the eye, and that ultimately God is my source of strength and comfort whoever is President.

And I and my family will pray for God’s blessing and wisdom for whoever is President, and that God will have mercy on these great United States.

Turnout looks to be amazing this morning. The line at the polling place was literrally going down the street, something I haven’t seen before. It should be. This is an important election.

My neigborhood is heavily minority and very liberal, probably at least 50% black. I hate the idea of all of them being crushed in disappointment if Obama loses. I can see the anxiety on their faces- I was expecting a rather jubilant experience waiting in line but it is actually extremely tense and quiet. Maybe being one of the few white guys there puts a damper on things. But I will be genuinely happy for them if Obama wins. The symbolism for them- especially for the young guys who are a bit rough around the edges shall we say – is immense. What lasting effect it will have though, only time will tell. An Obama loss would not go over well. In fact, truth be told, I don’t really want to be around too much if he loses. But that of course is an outside chance.

Now for my favorite part: voting. I love how in every other area of life your personal info is kept secret. Not so in voting here. You have to indentify as a Republican – in front of people who can see I live 2 houses away from the polling place- and they send you over to a special polling booth with the skull and bones on it. Oh well. God bless America. I live on a street that is completely mixed racially and politically – Black, White, Latino; 3 Republican houses, all the rest Democrats except the one voting Peace and Freedom party. My lesbian neighbors just got married too.

As long as our children can play with each other and we are welcome in each other’s homes – which we are- I think America is going to be OK.

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