No, I’m not going to analyze the US election results. No I’m not going to share with you my thoughts about any specific candidates. This isn’t about that.
I want to make an observation about the election results that I witness. Some people are giddy with excitement over the results of the election. Their candidates won. Some people are sad over the loss of their candidates. And some have no idea what the results are and don’t care – ignorance is bliss I guess.
I’ve been a student of politics for a good long time. And of course I haven’t been in politics lately, working a campaign or following it as intently as I have in the past since I am in a new calling. But the foundation of what I learned is still there and colors how I view the political world.
The biggest observation that is apparent to me is this – I observe the same thing every election cycle. People allow others to determine their emotional state. They willingly hand over how they feel about life in that moment based on an election result. Why?
We focus so much attention on these elections and, as a society, create an unreasonable expectation that the person who wins will change everything for the better. We’re fooling ourselves. A couple of years in we, as a society, come to the realization that the politician that we had elevated as a savior of our nation (or state, or town) is actually much less than that – they are human and they make mistakes, and they have times of incompetency, and say dumb things, and… it goes on and on.
Is it reasonable to create such an expectation? No, but we do it anyway. I think people are looking for something. They are looking for someone to take responsibility for changing an unsatisfactory situation. So we willingly heap that responsibility onto a candidate and when they fail, which they will, then we feel better about ourselves in being able to point the blame at the candidate.
I could be wrong on this, but this sounds an awful lot like scapegoating. It’s a part of who we are as humans.
It doesn’t have to be that way. It could be different. We could start with better, more realistic expectations of our candidates and politicians. We could look within ourselves for some answers to things. We could also recognize that some issues will not be resolved because there is so much division. We could start with those things that there is consensus on and build on that. And we could recognize that no human is the source of our salvation – personally or as a society. We can also recognize that God is with us in the midst of all the chaos and crap. Our responsibility is to place our trust where it belongs. We can do that because God gives us grace first.