Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and . . . Trump?

6 05 2016

For months now, as I’ve watched the GOP engage in what can be regarded as nothing less than a civil war, I’ve been relatively silent on social media about the angry and vitriolic political landscape of our nation. In what will certainly go down in history as the most unusual, unpredictable, and unpresidential nomination process our republic has ever known, the ‘grand ‘ol party’ has gone from more than a dozen GOP presidential candidates – to that place where this morning there is only one left standing.

I have watched in disbelief as one man has been allowed to usurp so much control of the conversation that members of media have become unable to turn off their cameras, and great statesmen have been reduced to vulgar innuendo on a public stage in a national debate. Petty arguing and naming calling, which if observed taking place between children on a playground would have resulted in ‘time out’ or perhaps even a spanking, has become the norm. And an angry portion of the American populace now functions as a pawn in the chess game of those driven by wealth, power, and fame, manipulated and misled to think that America’s best day’s lie in the past.

Suddenly, peoples’ malcontent with the status quo has made it acceptable to mindlessly believe that platitudes are appropriate replacements for policy, and that promises can be adequately substituted for positions on some of the most important issues facing our nation, and our world. Contrary to what some might believe to be occurring, political correctness is NOT being rejected; rather, it is merely being redefined in a manner that allows the ‘excluder’ and the ‘marginalizer’ to regard themselves as the ones being discriminated against, simply because they are being held accountable for behavior rooted in beliefs that are not reflective, nor worthy, of the great American story!

However, as frightening as the power of a shrewd and politically savvy businessman may be, what is more frightening is the behavior of those who feel led to follow him! And while few of these people may ever read these words, you are the ones to whom I write.

You see while you and I may be very different people, I get your perspective. I understand your anger. Your disgust with the corrupt nature of the American political process, and your frustration and sense of impotence when dealing with the ‘establishment’, is felt by many who will never be found at the rallies in which you participate. Like you, I too know that something is wrong today; for there are people on all sides, of each and every aisle that exists in the country, who agree that America today lacks many of values that were so essential to the founding of our nation more than 200 years ago.

Those values were of great concern to George Washington as well. Which is why, 233 years ago next month, he penned a prayer that needs to our prayer today. He said, “I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would . . . incline the heart of (U.S.) citizens to . . . entertain a brotherly (and sisterly) affection and love for one another, for their fellow citizens of the United States at large, and . . . that He would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all ~ to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific tempter of mind . . .”

I share this prayer with you because I’m wondering if together, we might acknowledge how our nation has strayed from Washington’s values, and whether or not together, we might attempt to return them in the coming six months.

You see, it seems to me that for some reason, too many of us today seem to think that this nation needs to be less about affection and love for one another, and more about power over and control of the other. Justice for ALL is less important that justice for ME. Fear is leading many of us to substitute the quest for kindness, grace, and mercy, with a quest for punishment, revenge, and retribution. And as far as that ‘pacific temper of mind,’ which is simply about the maintenance of a character and disposition that is peaceful, nonviolent, and without belligerence . . . well, we seem to think that such a naïve and unrealistic desire is responsible for getting us here in the first place.

Perhaps the prayer of our nation’s first president should be our prayer today – and by ‘prayer’, I mean more than asking God to somehow miraculously change the circumstances in our nation. Rather, by prayer, I mean the intentional search, on our part, for the transformation of our hearts and minds that is at the heart of this important spiritual discipline. Without getting all Ghandi on you, perhaps you and I need to be the change that we want to see in the world; because nothing is going to get better if we just keep calling one another names, bully those who disagree with us, and demonizing those who think different that we do.

Rather than fighting corruption with angry rhetoric, we need to offer rational and reasonable alternatives. Rather than replacing the establishment’s political power with another establishment’s perceived economic or financial power, we need to simply learn how to share power, with everyone!

Washington challenged America’s citizens to display affection and love for one another. He challenged us to create a more just, grace-filled, charitable, humble, and peace-filled nation. So let’s try to make that our reality over the next 6 months.

And as far as the election goes, and who we select to lead us for the next four years – we should be demanding nothing less from them. Further, while we may not agree on who best fits this description, if we’re honest – I mean really honest with ourselves – surely we can agree on who does not!

Advertisements