From the editors of The Christian Century:
Congregations in crisis present a huge challenge to leaders, notes Peter Steinke, a veteran congregational consultant (see his article "Buckle up"). He emphasizes that change and the prospect of more change—even when it is planned—makes congregations anxious. Members can be expected to react out of emotion and fear. They will look for leaders to blame, and they will attach themselves to landmarks of what they imagine was a more glorious past.
Voters' mood in this recent election season had much in common with that of the anxious congregations Steinke describes. The reasons for that anxiety are real: high unemployment, a sluggish economy, home foreclosures and sagging home values, a sense of a diminished economic future. But as in Steinke's scenario, much of the political response to the crisis has been reactive, fearful and off the mark...
The glory of American politics is that voters get to "throw the rascals out"—whether or not they understand who the rascals are or the nature of the crisis the nation is in. Very little could have done by any government during this worldwide economic slowdown to address the high unemployment, except more government stimulus, which is what voters say they don't want.
The paradox of current politics is that voters like Democratic programs such as Medicare, Social Security, expanded health care and even environmental protection, but they also like the Republican strategy of low taxes and its rhetoric of smaller government.
What is most disturbing about this ideological standoff is that it makes it impossible to address many of the truly pressing issues facing government—such as how to pay for Medicare and Social Security, how to bring order and fairness to immigration law and how to counter climate change.
Click here for the full editorial.
Much of their analysis is correct but they ignore religious and racial factors that played into this election - not to mention the Supreme Court's Citizen's United ruling which allowed unprecedented amounts of cash (some of it secret) to flood the airways with dishonest advertising. As noted, 'much of the political response to the crisis has been reactive, fearful and off the mark" in this election cycle but that fear was fueled by well funded political machines that took advantage of racial animosity (illustrated so clearly by the Tea Party) and the natural fear that changes always brings.
The prescription offered by the editors of The Christian Century in light of the election returns: find common ground. That won't be easy to do with Tea Party candidates who believe the president of the United States isn't an American born citizen who professes a Christian faith but rather a Kenyan Muslim sent here like a Manchurian candidate to destroy America.