Well, today is the day after Election Day, which means it’s a day for reflection—both for thinking about what has happened and thinking about what will happen. I don’t have anything new or special to say today except that which I have already said. So, here is my collection of blog posts about the election.
First, way back in August 2011, in the beginning of the Primary season, I talked about how my faith influences my politics. I wrote, “Jesus made it clear in the parable of the Shrewd Manager: use whatever temporal resources are at your disposal for the sake of the Kingdom. Since the coming Kingdom is one of peace, mercy, and justice, I ought to use whatever tools are at my disposal to bring about those aims, knowing full well they won’t be totally realized until Jesus returns. I will, then, as a citizen of the US, use my rights to affect the way our society is governed to make it look more like the Kingdom.”
Second, in April of this year I shared this sermon by Martin Luther King Jr. Again, this post helped explain the intersection of my faith and my politics.
Third, after keeping my mouth shut for a long time, I decided in August of this year to offer a scathing critique of the infantile way our nation discusses politics. I wrote, “So, I find that I am highly disgusted with the whole “don’t tread on me” attitude present in our public discourse. What do you mean “don’t tread on me”? If you accept that the government, as the legitimate representative of you and your neighbors, has the right to intervene in society, then you will sometimes have to accept decision you don’t like. Compromise and moderation are features of being a grown-up, but those two virtues have been totally lost in the tit-for-tat political back and forth.”
Then, as the campaigning reached a fevered pitch in October, I began a three-week series discussing the 2012 election.
So, fourth, I shared an assessment of our binary political system. I wrote, “Which makes the striving between the two parties seem a little odd. Because they’re not that much different. The vehemence expressed about Romney’s tax returns or Obama’s birth or whose taxes are going to get cut and for how long and whether all or just most illegal immigrants will get this or that benefit betray a fundamental lack of difference. These two machines are entrenched in power. And they have a vested interest in maintaining that power.”
Fifth, I explained—after providing some history—why I was voting for the Green Party. I wrote, “So, why am I voting for Jill Stein and not Stewart Alexander? For one thing, GPUS has the advantage of not having the word “socialist” in its name, a word which scares lots of Americans so much so that it is an insult constantly leveled at Obama who is, by the way, in no way a socialist. Moreover, in the United States, GPUS is much larger, more organized, and better funded than the SPUSA. In fact, GPUS has a few hundred elected (mostly local) officials. They actually have a chance at polling at 5% in the presidential election. If the Greens do get 5% of the vote, then the Federal Election Commission will give the Greens twenty million dollars in public funding in 2016.”
Sixth, I explained how a robust Green Party would challenge the dominant systems built by the establishment parties. How the Green Party would, specifically, address issues totally ignored by the major parties. I wrote, “Aside from the unqualified endorsement of Israel, one of the most troubling aspects of the foreign policy debate was the unqualified endorsement of the use of drone strikes. The fact that the United States has the capability to execute anyone anywhere in the world without judicial oversight is an egregious violation of the checks on power that we, in a democracy, ought to love. What judge issued an arrest warrant, much less an execution order, for Anwar al-Awlaki or his sixteen-year-old son? They were both American citizens living in Yemen last year when they were assassinated by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States because they were suspected terrorists.”
And finally, seventh, I posted yesterday—on Election Day—why I am thankful to live in a democracy. I wrote, “Because, in my mind, the greatest part of the election is not election day itself when people exercise their right to vote. The greatest day is that cold day in January when grown men and women lay aside their political differences and respect the will of the people. The peaceful transfer of power amazes me. No tanks. No coups. No assassinations. No UN peacekeepers. Just solemn, grave respect for the rule of law, order, and civil society.”
I am convinced that politics is far more than a vote every 2 years. Politics is the way we—those who live in a free society—can work for the Common Good. May God defend the oppressed, hold the corrupt to account, and grace our society’s institutional ability to love the least of these.