It's getting nasty. Let's clean it up!
In his tome Democracy in America, French historian and political scientist Alexis de Tocqueville penned an eighth chapter about the United States Constitution. Following the section about the election of the American President there was a short segment subtitled Crisis of the Election. A mid-article sentence and one paragraph toward the end brought a smile---
Thus, parties are strongly involved in tipping the election in their favor, not so
much to promote the triumph of their own ideas with the help of a
President-elect as to prove my his election that these ideas have gained a
The whole nation descends into a feverish state; the election becomes the daily
theme of newspapers, the subject of private conversations, the object of every
maneuver and every thought, the only concern of the present moment.
Sounds like some people I know and a scenario right from the media today. That he called it a "descent" seems appropriate enough as well. It's good to remember that his work was published in 1835. Imagine what his summation would be if he could see us now, a much larger nation trying to pull off this electoral system with the added components of immediate communication, hundreds if not thousands of factions, a mammoth out-of-control and unresponsive government, and a citizenry that feels insignificant in the governing processes.
The crisis seems more acute today perhaps because it is in our face so much of the time. But, there are some reminders that may lower the heat some if given time on our busy and basically carved in stone agendas.
1. No election will solve our enormous national problems.
The political, economic, social, racial, and other wrongs of our culture are
symptomatic of the deeper spiritual poverty that has overtaken us. As a
believer and minister of the Gospel Jesus is our only answer.
2. Our only human corrective is Article V of the Constitution.
The Founders anticipated a time when government would become
ineffective and self-serving and factions would endanger the wise
governance of our nation. They wrote Article V into our Constitution, a
provision for a convention of states so that the government of "we the
people" could remain just that. With the Washington mammoth still
expanding exponentially, this provision is our only human system to bring
this government under control. For more about our Founders provision
please click here.
3. There is an "until then" ideal that should guide us.
Most of us have a "then" in our belief system, an ultimate victorious
conclusion to life. Jesus will surely return one day. My friends who are deeply
involved in this convention of states project confirm that it is a long term
process, perhaps years in being realized. This translates to what I call my
"until then" approach to life, the expectation that I remain diligent, vigilant,
and faithful till the fulfillment of what is promised. The disciples and early
church were challenged to work while there was light, for a time was
coming when they couldn't work. So, taking recess till these things happen
shouldn't be on my to-do list.
4. Believers must bring the mind of Christ to the process.
We're often a little naive about life. We expect righteous behavior from
people in every life situation, regardless of their spiritual beliefs. The truth is
that the mind of Christ can characterize life processes in only two ways: for
God to supernaturally project the mind of Christ through revelation; or,
through the influence of believers in the world around us. That means me.
Examining myself to insure I am in the faith is essential if I am to influence
the world around me with the mind of Christ.
5. My influence is nullified if not evenly applied.
Last week while on vacation there was an opportunity to review my own
positions, thoughts, expectations, previous writings, and general attitudes
about this election. In the process I noted several instances when I sought
reason and rational thought while slipping into inflammatory language,
name calling, and other cute and clever terminology at the same time.
Consistency is an important element of influence. So, on this side of all that
self-examination, I'm praying for for just that, an even-handed approach
through this quagmire.
Millions of evangelical, conservative believers who love the Lord with all all their heart are struggling with this election. So far, it has challenged everything I've ever been taught about Christian interaction in political process. Please join me in deep prayer for patience and grace as we move toward November.