democracy's chorus
democracy’s chorus (Photo credit: howard.hall)

The elections are over. It was close. Very, very close. The nation is as divided as ever but I’m still thankful I live where I do. I’m still grateful I live in the United States. Maybe I should have waited for “H” because I could have talked about “hope”. How, because I live in a democracy, there is hope.  Hope for change no matter who lives in the “big white house” on Pennsylvania Ave.

No one rioted. Armed guards didn’t have to make their presence known. None of us were afraid to show up to vote. None of us were afraid to have political signs placed in our yard for fear of reprisal. We openly discussed and argued our stance.

But we’re still a country in deep trouble. That hasn’t changed. Too many people are still without work. Our debt is increasing every day with no end in sight. Our health care system is a behemoth that needs an overhaul irrespective of party lines. Big social issues still divide us. Will we work through it? We hear how members of congress need to “reach across the aisle” (whatever that really means and does anyone even know)? I hope they will but if they do they might not have a job in four years. There are probably very few in elected office who are willing to lose their job for the sake of someone else keeping theirs. But there just might be a few. That would be all it would take.

Practicing our democracy (which might be a good explanation for reaching across the aisle) needs to be personally demonstrated by each of us through our everyday conversations and treatment of other people. It is us who need to reach across the aisle and narrow the great divide. It is us who need to put aside general prejudices and see people as individuals who are basically pursing the same thing. We just have different views about how to get there. The question becomes, how do we do that? How do we compromise without abandoning our political or religious views? I don’t have the answers but I know I want to find that delicate space between compromise and conviction.  It must be there because Jesus found it.

Most people are unaware that Jesus was somewhat political in that He had a great deal to say about social injustice. The love he advocated was not only meant to draw others to Him, it was also meant to relieve the economic suffering of the people who were being overtaxed and taken advantage of by the ruling class. Social injustice was one of Jesus’ dominant themes. He fed people before He preached to them.  He also had a great deal to say about personal responsibility. He was adamant about the moral decay He found. He spoke clearly about some very specific controversial social issues that are still very controversial.

We need to demonstrate our democracy as individuals because that’s where democracy began—with the individual. With those individual men and women who said they no longer wanted a government in which they had no say. Individuals that maintained their religious beliefs but yet managed to work together with those of different beliefs to establish a young country with a bright future.

Our future might be dim right now but there is still a light at the end of the tunnel. America is great because of its people, not despite them.  America is great because it is a government established by the people and for the people. That’s you and that’s me.