Wednesday, November 9, 2016

What Next?

After a long, divisive election season, the results surprised many pundits. The polls predicted a different outcome. Yet, the 45th President will be someone who has never held political office before. He has never served in the military before. Regardless of one’s political leanings, this is a new era. 
Now, we can stop comparing candidates. Instead, we can look ahead. 
First, uncertainty seems to be the theme of news stories. The winner of the presidency has made many contradictory statements. He has no track record to show what kind of policy decisions he will make. Many of his campaign promises are racist (e.g. deportation squads, building a wall, banning Muslims, etc.). Will he follow through with those promises? No one knows. 
Second, we can wait and see. With one candidate, there was a general expectation of status quo. With the winner, expectations roam all over. Speculation about the future gains nothing. Ecclesiastes 5:2 says, “Never be rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be quick to utter a word before God. God is in heaven, and you are on earth. Thus, let your words be few.” Let us be patient. Let us wait and see what happens next. This might be the most fruitful action today.
Third, let us treat one another with kindness and respect. “Love is patient. Love is kind.” Tillich says, “True love listens.” As we move beyond a hate-filled election year, Christians can model reconciliation. Instead of clinging to division, we can seek to build bridges. 
When people come together, they are stronger. Multiculturalism is not the enemy. Diversity is nothing to fear. People with different approaches and lifestyles can enrich one another’s life experience. 
History holds many lessons. These lessons hold true for both political winners and losers. Winners can learn contrition, humility, and openness. Without it, they are unlikely to remain victorious for long. Losers can learn from Richard Nixon. He proclaimed, “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.” He said this in 1962, six years before becoming president. 
The future is always uncertain. Part of the adventure of living is getting up each day and not knowing what will happen. 
What will a President Trump be like? We do not know. Let us pray for him. Let us mend fences and celebrate diversity. And, let us be good neighbors at home and around the world.

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