What would St. Paul say about the election?
Earlier this evening, as I was walking through downtown Hanover, I saw a crowd of McCain-Palin supporters on one street corner and a crowd of Obama-Biden folks on the other. I noticed some friends in the McCain crowd, but didn’t get a good look at the Obama group. As I walked through them all and traffic picked up, one driver rolled down his window and screamed at the McCain camp, “You’re all ignorant!!!!”
Well, at least he didn’t swear. But lest we think the hatred and vitriol is one-sided, this was reported at FiveThirtyEight.com today:
McCain-Palin campaign worker Ashley Todd has admitted to a lying scheme designed to stir up racial hatred. The obvious goal -- create an emotional backlash against black people and against Barack Obama to influence the vote. That's the McCain close. The McCain-Palin campaign pushed it. Nobama.
The message: "Be scared of Barack Obama's supporters. Go vote against him."
(It should be noted, this is the kind of thing that goes beyond campaign messaging. This sort of thing leads to race-based physical attacks.)
I can’t wait for next Wednesday to hurry up and get here. It's been a bitter, bitter election season, with neither major party candidate living up to the potential to unite this country each showed as recently as last winter. We've got radicals on one side calling Democratic voters anti-American socialists; we've got ideologues on the other side calling Republican voters war-mongering rednecks. Such hateful, disrespectful behavior does not help anyone or anything, nor does it speak well of one's character. All it does is drive a nation apart, putting all our common goals further out of reach. It is the last thing our nation needs during what are already divisive and perilous times.
There are over 300 million Americans. Polls show McCain betwen 39 and 46%, or between 117 and 138 million supporters. I will not call 138 million Americans ignorant or, for that matter, anything else, and I would hope that none of them would do the same to 162 million of their countrymen over something as petty as a political disagreement.
In the midst of such a dirty campaign, Christians of all political stripes would do well to step back for a moment, take a deep breath, turn off the talking heads on their TV, and remember the words of the Apostle Paul, who reminds us that reconciliation in Christ is a higher value than any human squabble.
Now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, so that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body* through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it.* So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.