Tag Archives: election

Understanding the 2020 Election

While the final results are still being litigated, there are some clear takeaways from the 2020 election that are vital building blocks for a better future. It is my hope that all thoughtful people will pause and discern this moment well.

Insight One: Just as 2016 was in large part a rejection of Candidate Clinton, so 2020 will be seen among some as a reaction to four years of President Trump. Though he and Republicans did better than expected, there were still enough negatives to change votes.

Insight Two: 2020 is a repudiation of extremes, particularly socialistic tendencies within the Democratic party. Americans intuitively lean toward the center and are suspicious of groups calling for an overhaul of major systems.

Insight Three: We must do better to ensure access, equity, and opportunity for all citizens to vote, and eliminate any hints of fraud and malfeasance. Whether current lawsuits and testimonies change the projected winners, we can do better.

Insight Four: COVID-19 cast a shadow over what was a growing domestic economy and several foreign policy wins for the current Administration. Hopefully the next Administration and Congress will not undo much of the progress that has been made.

Insight Five: American media and polling agencies are failing the populace in their pursuit of a political agenda. Apart from direct incitements to violence and salacious material, there should be no censorship of opinions. The “fact-checking” agencies need women and men of all persuasions at the helm if they are going to have any credibility.

Insight Six: There is a silver lining in the clouds of anxiety: record numbers of people actually voted. Though we must improve systems, it is heartening to see millions peacefully casting their votes and no widespread accusations of voter suppression (this is distinct from the current processing and tallying issues).

Insight Seven: Finally, the contentious American public square reveals a need for a moral and spiritual awakening that will propel reverence before the Almighty, respect for one another, and shared values and virtues that are essential to liberty.

Regardless of final results, there are clear signs of the beauty and brokenness of our beloved land. May we help build a better future.

Election 2020: Between Apathy and the Apocalypse

“If Trump wins, cities will burn!” “This is the most important election in history!” “If the Democrats win, it is the end of America.” Such is the rhetoric of our divided society. By all public accounts, everyone is on one extreme or the other, and moderates are a vanishing group.

Every election is important. Thousands of local, regional, and state officials are elected and entrusted with billions of dollars and hundreds of decisions. Nationwide, the entire House of Representatives is up for election every two years. A third of the Senate is elected. The next President will appoint many judges, including those on the Supreme Court. The 2020 election matters.

Our current crises do amplify the consequences of how we vote. This said, we must avoid two mistakes: apathy and apocalyptic fear. The former simply gives up and says, “My vote does not really matter” or “The same power-brokers are still in charge, so what is the use?” The latter term frames this election as an “end times” choice between good or evil. How do we avoid these tendencies and take our civic duty seriously?

Here are some insights I have gleaned from thoughtful women and men over the past several years that I think are helpful as we go to the polls:

  • Are we praying for all in authority and blessing those we disagree with most?
  • Do the candidates truly support freedom of conscience and religion, peaceful assembly, redress of government, and free speech?
  • American Presidents are very powerful, but they are not messiahs or antichrists.
  • Are we engaged locally, or obsessed with a few national campaigns? Change for good begins locally, and we can have much influence here.
  • People do not fit into neat little ideological or partisan boxes and we must be careful not to judge too quickly. There are pro-life Democrats and pro-choice Republicans. There are Democrats that affirm traditional marriage and Republicans living and supporting alternative lifestyles. Voters often feel they are trapped, and they end up voting for the lesser of two evils.
  • Are any leaders looking to balance a budget and be fiscally responsible?
  • Are we reading the fine print on ballot propositions?
  • How do all candidates propose to change our trajectories for failing cities and rural communities, poor education, and crumbling infrastructure without just printing more money?
  • What are the policies on immigration? Do they combine compassion and security or just yell at the opposition?

Let’s say, “NO!” to apathy and apocalyptic speculation and, “YES!” to wise engagement, and personal commitment to fostering peace and justice. Our future rests more on the moral decisions of millions of citizens that the rhetoric of a few politicians. Leaders are powerful, but our voice can be more so, if we have courage.

What Does “There” Look Like? 2020 Election Edition

For years I have been challenging myself, other leaders, and elected officials to offer compelling visions of the future that are inclusive, just, and propel all people and communities toward flourishing. Without hope (tempered by realism), we are left with either anarchy leading to new forms of totalitarianism, or timeworn experiments that have proven fruitless.

Here are some questions for those who care about our global and local future:

  • Is your vision inclusive of all classes and cultures? Or are you preying on envy and resentment and fomenting conflict to secure power over others?
  • Is your vision doable and can it be paid for without stifling creativity and opportunity? Are your ideas incrementally achievable or grandiose talking points rooted in scare tactics?
  • Does your vision continue enshrining freedom of conscience, religion, speech, and peaceable assembly, or are you placing whole groups outside the pale because they are not enlightened enough?
  • Does your vision include both changed hearts and just systems? Good intentions are helpful, but without access, equity, and opportunity, they will ring hollow.
  • Does your vision allow for progress without instant perfection and proximate justice on the way to full liberation? Can you find ways for principled compromise?
  • Does your vision build on the lessons of history so that old mistakes are not repeated, and wisdom can be applied afresh to new challenges? Or are you trapped in the recent fallacy that dismisses the insights of previous generations?
  • Does your vision reflect the need for people of character as well as new public policies?

A fresh vision of “there” will require imagination, integrity, intentional action, and a love for continual learning and refinement. We will never build a perfect world, but we can make the present one better.