The pedestal on which we place our politicians is perhaps nowhere more exaggerated than it is in California where voters elected blockbuster, morphed politician, Arnold Schwarzenegger into the governor’s office last year.
Case in point — an ad posted on eBay this summer for one of the governor’s throat lozenge. The seller claimed that the item, identified only as “AMF814,” was some sort of lozenge retrieved at public gathering where the governor had discarded it. The listing included two photos of a half-consumed cough drop and the words, “Own a piece of DNA from the man himself.
The item was quickly removed after eBay decided it fell into the category of “body parts.” Fortunately, eBay has standards about such things.
To borrow a metaphor, it’s now the “morning after” in the political world. And America is waking up to see what strange bedfellow this political year has wrought.
And hopefully most of us realize that we’ve reelected just another member of the human race. He’s no superhero, movie star, or divine being – just a man whose throat lozenge, gum, or dental floss won’t hold any more value than yours or mine.
Yet the problem with electing someone of our likeness is that only those who voted for him are likely to accept him while the other half of the nation will perhaps feel a bit disenfranchised and divided by his decisions.
A similar division faced the island of Crete in the times of the Apostle Paul. Crete was notorious for its unruly inhabitants. Existing under Roman rule, some people were seeking seditious solutions.
In response Paul fired off a short note to an island pastor named Titus. In the note, Paul encouraged the people of faith to avoid the conflict by being “ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.”
That wasn’t easy advice to follow in Crete. There were good reasons to revolt. Yet Paul continued through his short letter to stress the importance of “loving what is good” (1:8), “teaching what is good” (2:3), and “doing whatever is good. (3:1)”
Paul’s point is well taken. The truth is that a leader is no better than the people he or she leads. In the end, it won’t be who’s won the election that makes a difference, it will be the people who continue doing the good works.
People who speak good words make a difference. People who teach what is good will make the lasting impact. The heroic acts of a soldier, the selfless acts of a health worker, the lasting acts of a teacher are all things that contribute toward to strength of society.
In the places where good is being done – schools, hospitals, or food closets, I’ve never heard distinctions made on the basis of Democrat or Republican. I’ve never heard a child ask a teacher whether they were democrat or republican. I’ve never seen a patient ask their nurse about their political persuasion. I’ve never seen a homeless person refuse a warm blanket from someone who voted for the opposing candidate. Good stands on its own.
Media focus in the past few months has been over divisions. It’s time to refocus. It’s time to look at the things that define us, hold us and unite us. Good things will always do that.
While not everyone will agree with the winner’s values or their policies, it will be those who chose to do the right things in life that will always get my vote.