The election is on November 3: decide now how you’ll respond. On one level, it doesn’t seem like any of us knows what to expect when the election is over. On another level, we all know exactly what to expect. There’s going to be division, gloating, outrage, cries of injustice and rigging, anger, joy, mourning, celebration, and so much more. That’ll be the case if we find out on November 3 who wins. It’ll only be intensified and mixed with more accusations and angst if the election is undecided for days, weeks, or months after election day.
So how are you going to respond to all of this?
If you’ve been the Political Jackass, you’ll either find your hopes dashed or realized. You’ll either fall into anger, lashing out and explaining how ignorant and idiotic the Winner and his supporters are, or you’ll launch into a triumphant euphoria, realizing that everything is going to be okay now that your political goals are likely to be achieved.
I’m sorry to state it so bluntly, but both responses are stupid. Both stem from a jackassery wherein our hope is not most fundamentally in Jesus but in a this-worldly system of gain and triumph that is transparently an alternative religion. We use religious terminology for our political jackassery, which reveals the idolatry at the root of our political polarizations. It’s not that we can’t be principled voters who stand in conviction. I’m arguing that if we’re pledging allegiance to a political party or a candidate, then our allegiance is not ultimately in Jesus. If we’re pledging allegiance to one nation over another, our faith is somewhat shallow. Does that sound harsh? Consider this:
Matthew Bates frames faith as allegiance in his book Gospel Allegiance, and I think he’s right to do so. So pledging allegiance elsewhere is at least close to putting our faith in something or someone other than Jesus.“How will you respond to the completed election? Decide now. There’s no reason to be surprised by the fallout of this thing.”
If your allegiance/faith is in a candidate that wins, you’ll be over the moon thrilled to the point that it will either manifest in relief, gloating, or some other form of euphoria. If your allegiance/faith is in a candidate that loses, you’ll be devastated to the point that it will either manifest in anger, depression, or some other form of dysphoria. But if your allegiance/faith is in Jesus, then the results of an election couldn’t possibly rock you very deeply.
If your faith/allegiance is primarily in Jesus, then your response to the completed election will have more to do with your feelings of compassion for other people than about your political goals being achieved or dashed. Win or lose, you’ll see people’s laid-bare hopes and disappointments as an opportunity to disciple them toward Jesus and all of the healing and hope that he offers.
So how will you respond to the completed election? Decide now. There’s no reason to be surprised by the fallout of this thing. If we renounce Jackass Politics now, we can be perfectly poised to help other people counterbalance in the wake of the coming train wreck and find ways to move forward together in a beautiful hope.