I'm writing this Tuesday night before the presidential election has been called, and I'm sure that most of the blogosphere will be consumed with dissecting the election before the political rhetoric finally, mercifully, dies down for a while.
I have lots of thoughts about the American electoral system, but it's probably not anything you haven't heard before. Instead, I just want to briefly share with you something I came across while transcribing my great-grandfather's writings. It was written in 1976, the bicentennial anniversary of the United States of America, at which point my great-grandfather was 80 years old.
We have just about reached the end of another year, the Bi-Centennial year of the U.S. There was a lot of celebrating over the 200th birthday of our country, but to a great many people it did not mean any more than other years which had slipped by. I have lived 2/5 of those 200 years and have seen some changes made in the administrations which held office in those years, but there was little difference to the average citizen. Politicians make a lot of promises during their campaigns, but when in office find that they can do little to regulate the trends of business highs and lows with the resultant unemployment or peak employment going along with that trend.Certainly it's not accurate to say that the president or any other elected official has no effect on individual American citizens. But I think it's a good reminder that so much of what happens in our day-to-day lives isn't so much affected by decisions made at the very top but by what happens face-to-face between people. We impact many, many more people with how we treat them on a daily basis than with how we cast our ballots once or twice a year.
For Christians, how we vote and who wins will always be less important than whether we strive each day to follow the greatest commandments:
One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?" Jesus answered, "The foremost is, 'Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:28-31)