Like everyone else I’ve been trying to make sense out of the election results. What do the numbers mean? Why did Kerry loose? Do secular Democrats really want to keep us Christians in the closet? I’ve received hundreds and hundreds of e-mails announcing my near imminent departure for hell because of my pro-choice and pro-gay views. Am I really going to hell? If I get to pick someone to tag along can I pick George W. Bush? Does he already know the way?
When left with questions like these at times like this it is best to turn to religious bloggers. Secular bloggers don’t count because many of you only want my voice at the table if I leave my Bible at home and promise never to mention Jesus unless used as a term expressing frustration. “Jesus! I lost my pen.” So I'm not playing with my secular friends today.
So what do the progressive faith blogs have to say.
Karl Rove did it. He was able to coble together a slight majority in this country by appeals to the base and in this particular election one of the most important components of that base was the evangelical protestant community. I don't have any criticism of Kerry and the moblization of the left in this country was the most impressive I've ever seen. That's probably why I had some level of optimism going into this election. But the problem is that evangelical protestants are so large a voting block that surmounting it in a national election is going to be an a daunting task for democrats in many states.
I'm making an effort to look towards the future, and try to see where we go from here. The only conclusion I've come to so far is that progressives are failing to communicate their message. Once we've learned how to do this more effectively, we are going to have to engage those with whom we disagree in conversation. Personally, I'm not there yet. I can't talk to Republicans or Roman Catholics right now. I won't be going to ministerial association meetings, which are dominated by evangelicals, for awhile. Not only does their glee in electing a "good, God-fearing man" make me sick, most likely I'd give them a piece of my mind, and that is not the kind of conversation that's going to help right now.
I do think he would have been a very good president. For all the slander he had to confront, he articulated a plan, fought the good fight, and organized the base. That he has chosen not to challenge Bush demonstrates class. He'll have some money in the bank, and let the country focus on issues. And now that Bush has won legitimately perhaps the liberal vitriol will cool down a bit.
Progressives can now focus on framing the message: of sharing prosperity, building up strong communities, caring for the health and education of children, protecting the environment, and strengthening our borders. There will be plenty of times challenge the administration in its more egregious abuses of the political process.
Later, in a few years, Kerry might lead an investigation of Diebold.
Little Uptown never wakes or cries in the night. But at five this morning she was wailing and sobbing. "She knows," Mrs. Uptown said.
So we took her from her crib, and, against house rules, brought her to our bed, and hugged her, and soothed her, until she slept.
We surely weren't the only parents clutching their kids. A mother writes on a blogger's message board: "Last night I was so upset I crawled into bed with my little boy so I could sniff his sweet head and feel as if there were some good, true things in the world."
You would think that something more than an election was lost, wouldn't you?
There's a lot to say on a day like this. Everyone on the losing side has an opinion, criticism or psychic wound to share--and I do too.
But let's not rush through the grief too quickly. Sick animals, Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us, curl up in the woods and go to sleep, so their bodies can heal without stress. Let's be just as smart as a muskat. Let's do the decent thing for our mental and physical health--scream and wail, rend our garments, gulp vegetable soup and bourbon, and take to our beds.
Why such grief? Because dreams died hard yesterday. Some had names: the youth vote (kids stayed home), the women's vote (mothers must really believe their daughters will never need abortions), the black vote (huge, but sorry--you're just a minority), the lives of our soldiers (no price is too high to pay for Halliburton profits). Some were more abstract: the sanctity of the Constitution, leadership in science and medicine, environmental protection, health care for the poor, fact-based education, rights of gay partners, and more.
Those who are weeping today--and if I know ten, then there have to be tens of thousands--are people with hearts and imaginations big enough to weep for our fellow citizens, our country and our planet.
Sound overwrought? I think not. Because this was more than an election.
Christians know a lot about losing. We know that to get to Easter we first have to confront the horror of Good Friday. Maybe Tuesday was another Good Friday. Maybe something wonderful is about to be reborn from the wreckage of Election Day. God did not abandon those who fought for justice this week. The people and their Pharaoh abandoned God. There will be natural consequences for that betrayal. Pray for mercy and justice. Pray that God guides us safely out of this darkness and into a place where we can once again partner with God to build a more just world. That's just what I'm thinking. What about you?