The games we play.
When Monsieur de Tocqueville wrote about his nine month sojourn in America in 1831 he didn't mention the games we like to play. There's abundant analysis of our governing systems, the highs and lows of a representative republic, our religious heritage, and even on-point remarks about The Crisis of the Election. Of course, they are all aspects of the games we like to play. And, they are visible right now as we wrestle with the Election 2020. Every one of us would give high honor to our founders for envisioning a three branch government like ours and the election system that has guided us for 244 years. Most of us celebrate the freedom of religion that has marked our history, more so today than ever before. On the whole our population applauds our election processes. All of them are valued virtues of the American system. Till now. Change is in the air and a great many of us are standing in line to see it through. Let me comment on a couple of pressing matters---
The Electoral College
Our framers feared the interference of factions in our election processes. These would be special interest groups, political parties, and even large populations that could overly influence an election. The Electoral College provided electors from each state to finalize every election. In America today, without the Electoral College, these special interest groups, especially the large population areas like New York City, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, Dallas and others could be controlling populations in every national election. So, the Electoral College provides some balance against the controlling interest of these factions. It should not be abolished.
One Nation Under God
This is a game we love to play right now. Being a Christian nation was certainly in the hearts and minds of our framers. Yet, freedom of religion was central to the Constitution of the United States with the hope that we could at least guide our nation under the purview of Godly precepts and values. Yes, we'll all quote some Scripture and adore our currency marked "In God We Trust" as evidence of our religious history. But, friends, we're playing snide religious games now, cheating and scheming in our vote count, using defamatory language in our political references, and defying the basic trust that defines most of our religious preferences. Today I am reminded of a simple biblical reference that I pray would define us again---"Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!" (Psalm 33: 12, ESV).
The Crisis of the Election
De Tocqueville wrote about the unique challenges of regular elections in a nation like ours. Even in those simpler, less populated, and less diverse days those warnings were already real and tragic. Now, with social media, advanced communication systems, and an opinionated media these dangers are more evident than ever before. Today we are facing new crisis points, Like Fox News taking the lead in determining election results, calling every election according to their analysis criteria, and confusing the American public. Even with all of our technological advances, counting ballots has become a complex mess, taking days, perhaps even weeks.
Today I am reminded of Scripture that should be the guide of our ways. It's another game we like to play, talking spiritual talk and actually living far from God's ways. The Apostle Paul wrote this theme nearly two thousand years ago---"For God is not a God of confusion but of peace" (1 Corinthians 14: 33, ESV). Suddenly, confusion and disorder are our most visible traits. and the joys of Being One Nation Under God seem so distant.
The games we like to play must be discarded. Monsieur de Tocqueville also wrote,
"When a nation's religion is destroyed, doubt takes a grip upon the highest areas of intelligence paralyzing all the others" (Democracy in America, Penguin Books, 2003). Perhaps we should remember the truth of Job 12: 23, "He makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away".
Let's leave behind the games we play.