I've learned a lot over the last few weeks and months, not necessarily about politics or candidates, but about human nature and how incredibly divided we can really be.
It began (for me at least) with emails about my candidate that accused him of being everything from a terrorist and non-Christian, to being TOO much of a Christian. It didn't stop there; there were plenty of articles posted and emailed that told me I couldn't be hearing God's voice clearly if I voted for him because of his views on partial-birth abortion and same-sex unions (which incidentally are two issues that both candidates happened to have nearly identical views on...). There were more articles, more posts, attacking my candidates character. And of course, this went both ways. My candidate was not innocent and neither were his supporters. I honestly can't remember a time when I've seen more hateful things said among my group of friends, both online and in "real life". I started to realize that our country has truly become very divided.
Through all of this I struggled to keep my head above the murky waters everyone seemed to be sinking into, though I wasn't always successful. I maintained my staunch position that there must be a true separation of church and state, and I pointed out that the outcome of this election will not affect our eternal future. Still the comments came, and I responded by saying that we're not electing a savior, just a president. Yes, I defended my candidate and my party, but I also tried very hard to research my points and back up my opinion with sound reasoning and not emotion.
It can be a disconcerting to be both a Christian and a Democrat (or just liberal in general). I'm called upon to defend my position quite often and I often feel that I'm speaking to a crowd that will (a) never listen and (b) never believe me. So this blog is not about trying to convince you that my faith DOES determine how I vote (although it does, very much so) or why I feel that my faith has led me to these decisions. If you want to hear me make those points I'll be happy to--just ask.
Tonight I watched history being made. I was thrilled, and I was brought to tears. Not because I think Barack Obama is the savior of this country, or a messiah. Because now I can with integrity say to all of my inner city students "see what you can do?" Because my parents who lived through the Civil Rights movement have seen a black man elected to the highest office in the land. And because I truly believe that now that this election is over maybe we can begin healing.
I've been saddened as I watched nasty and hurtful things being said on both sides. I've feared that relationships won't be able to be repaired. But I was grateful to both John McCain (who gave a classy and beautiful speech tonight) and Barack Obama tonight. Both of them stressed the importance of working together and healing the divide that this nation has developed. And I truly hope that all who heard those words spoken by both of these good men who love our country will take them to heart.
We need healing now. We need to look beyond red states and blue states and see the faces behind those divisive colors. Let's call everyone purple and work together. That's what it's going to take--that's what it would have taken with either candidate's win tonight. And I'm prayerful--truly so--that we'll be able to do this.
God Bless America, and God Bless you all :0)