Thursday, November 04, 2004

Thoughts about the Republican triumph

I feel as if I have been both vindicated and devastated by the results of this election.

Vindicated:

The warning sirens we blared on this site concerning the importance of the religious vote and about the Democrats’ inability to win without it have been verified. The media has been telling us for months that this would be an election about jobs and terrorism. Yet exit polls told us, however, that this election was really about religion and moral values. More voters cited moral values as the most important factor influencing their decision than any other. Kerry did not articulate clearly, early or often enough a prophetic moral vision. Kerry repeatedly pointed out Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy. He repeatedly cited his own plan to ensure health care for all Americans. He did not, however, frequently track his opposition to Bush’s measures or his support for his own plans back to first principles. This was a case of too many facts, too many scattered ideas and too few well-articulated moral absolutes. He saw the trees and missed the forest.

Devastated:

I do not believe the Kingdom of God has been served by this election. The Bush victory represents a frightening setback for rather than “good news” for the poor and oppressed in this country. The wealthy and powerful rather than the meek have inherited our country for the time being. And as a law student I know that Bush’s appointments to the Supreme Court will carry influence for years to come. They are not something that can simply be rolled back like his tax cuts. I am troubled too, of course, about our place in the world. What would Jesus think about the dominating, bellicose stance we have adopted and which was ratified by last nights results?

I am not only troubled about the future of the Kingdom of God in this country but also by my fellow Christian’s failure to cut through the right’s “values smokescreen.” The politics of dominance are not reconcilable with Christian values. Why can’t we figure this out?

In short, I know two things:

(1) God isn’t going anywhere: if the Democrats continue to cede the religious vote to the Republicans, and if they let their party be dominated by secular pragmatists, they will continue to face devastating defeats.

(2) Jesus’ clear mandate that we serve poor and oppressed isn’t going anywhere: if we continue to let ourselves be duped by the narrow vision of Christian values offered to us by the right, and if we ignore the Republicans’ horrific records on social programs and social justice, the Kingdom of God will continue to retreat in this country.

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