“Thank God that’s over.”
That is likely what the vast majority of people will say tomorrow, whether their “side” won or lost. Election day is the culmination of a season of nastiness as politicians and their underlings vie for seats of power and influence.
However, we can spin this another way. This is a season of Thanksgiving, after all. We are engaged in a Thanksgiving Conspiracy. Can we not find things for which to be thankful? For instance:
Thank God we live in a republic in which we have the liberty (and responsibility) to elect our legislators and highest administrators.
Thank God we have meaningful choices to make on election day (and indeed, we do have such choices)
Thank God our political leaders can come from many different walks of life.
Thank God we have a system of checks and balances that doesn’t depend on a single charismatic figure, nor can it be easily hijacked by a single charismatic figure.
Thank God we have clearly defined levels of government (Federal, State, Local) that are accountable to the electorate.
That’s not enough? Perhaps you have a jaundiced eye towards the parties and the system as a whole. Fine. Let’s try this from yet another angle. Here are some personal words of Thanksgiving:
Thank you to all the poll workers who take on an often thankless job.
Thank you to the various news media who diligently work to offer deeper stories and coverage of issues beyond the hot button issues.
Thank you to the campaign volunteers who care enough about our republic that they sacrifice their valuable personal time to work for their candidate (even if it is a candidate with whom I disagree).
Thank you to the people who volunteer their time to clean up the mess of roadside campaign signs left behind at intersections all over town.
A huge “thank you” to everyone who will vote in this election – even if you disagree with me on the issues. A robust republic relies upon participation.
Why do I thank people with whom I politically disagree? Scripture makes it clear that we are to submit to governing authorities (I Peter 2:13-17, Romans 13:1-7) – we are to “honor the emperor.” Superficially this means to pay proper respect to the leaders we elect.
However, we must remember that in a democratic republic, the emperor is us. In a democratic republic, we are not meant to be enemies. We may disagree, quite heatedly, about our philosophy of the role of government, the wisdom of particular policies, or the capabilities of given candidates. But at the end of the day, our government rests entirely upon the consent of the governed.
The emperor is us.
Be thankful for that distribution of emperors. For when we are all emperor, no one person will ever be.
Soli Deo Gloria