The Morning After

5 11 2008

It’s the morning after a history-making election. Barack Obama is the new president-elect of the United States of America.

Do I feel differently today than I did yesterday? Honestly, I think I do.

In the interest of full disclosure for anyone reading who might be reading my blog for the first time, I am a registered Independent. I voted for John McCain. I made that decision largely because of a strong, personal opposition to legalized abortion. While I don’t consider myself to be a single-issue voter, and abortion is not the only issue by which I judge a potential leader, it is one of my first and foremost criteria, and it is what eliminated Barack Obama from consideration for me.

But this morning, that does not matter in quite the same way as it did yesterday. Yesterday, we were choosing a leader. Today, the leader has been chosen. This election now passes into history, and the much more pressing question becomes thus: “What now?”

When the decision for president has been made, each of us has a choice. If our candidate lost, we choose whether to be sore losers or good losers. If our candidate won, we choose whether to be gloating winners or gracious winners. I was very pleased last night to see in John McCain a good loser, and in Barack Obama a gracious winner.

During McCain’s concession speech, he pledged to do all in his power to help Barack Obama “lead us through the many challenges we face.” He referred to Mr. Obama as “my president,” a choice of words that spoke volumes to me. Some people in the assembled crowd booed at the mention of Obama’s victory, reminding me largely why I no longer choose to affiliate myself with that party even though I cast my vote for their candidate in this election. I wasn’t booing. I heard what John McCain said. I don’t think he meant it simply as a gracious concession, but rather as a genuine call to action to support the president we have elected.

Obama responded with an equally unifying speech. To myself and the others who did not vote for him, he had these words: “To those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.” And on this, the day after the election, I believe that it is both in the spirit of democracy and consistent with the Word of God to come alongside this man and give him our prayers and our support as the new leader of our country.

So today, I don’t think it’s time to second-guess America. I don’t think that spending time arguing about whether this was a good decision or a bad decision is helpful. It’s done. For someone like me who cares deeply about the issue of abortion, it’s time to look at what Obama has already and will continue to lay out in that regard. It’s time to consider how to best come alongside the president and work toward what he has stated to be a common goal, that is, to see the number of abortions come down. It’s time to look for the ways where we can work together for good.

Yesterday, I spent a lot of time discussing who was right and who was wrong. I still stand by what I said, though I wish I didn’t have such a tendency to trounce people when I perceive them as being wrong. A friend (maybe more than one, I’m still feeling a little bruised and can’t re-read yesterday’s blog comments yet) rightly called me arrogant, and I’ll be the first to admit it. It’s been a lifelong struggle for me. I daresay it’s a common struggle for people who feel passionately about anything. When we’re right, or when we think that we know we’re right, sometimes we allow asserting our “rightness” to become the most important thing, to our own detriment. I still think I was right, but perhaps I went about being right the wrong way, and perhaps I put way too much stock on the importance of convincing everyone that I’m right. I trust that you all love me in spite of my terrible flawedness in that regard.

Today, I’m saying it doesn’t matter any more who was the best candidate. What matters is what we do now. The defining word of Barack Obama’s campaign has been “change.” I think that each of us, regardless of who we voted for, knows that change is coming, It is now on each of our shoulders to define what that change will be, and to determine how best to personally become God’s agents of change for good, not evil, in America.

On a personal note, I want to sincerely congratulate my friends, family and acquaintances who played an active role in Barack Obama’s campaign. It feels good to win, especially when you feel like so much is at stake. Also, amidst my disappointment (and admitted lack of surprise) over McCain’s defeat, it was deeply moving to see Mr. Obama’s daughters, Malia and Sasha, take the stage with their father and to think of what this election represents for them as well.

I did not vote for Barack Obama. But he is now my president. He has my prayers, and he has my support.

Advertisements

Actions

Information

13 responses

5 11 2008
Amy Courts

I was duly impressed by McCain’s concession speech. What a way to lead his leaders in a truly “country first” manner.

I just wish we’d seen more of THAT John McCain on the campaign trail.

Either way, as I’m about to blog and say, what’s done is done. But the Christian commission to love our God and our neighbors as ourselves, to serve them selflessly and count them greater than ourselves hasn’t changed.

And ultimately, “they will know we are Christians by our love.” However we voted, and for whatever reasons, we are still Believers, and it is still our responsibility to represent Christ.

That’s our first – and most important – obligation, no matter where we stand on this election.

5 11 2008
micah d.l.

you sentiment is the one that i hope for the whole of america. i was more than impressed with mccain last night ESPECIALLY when the unacceptable booing began.

i believe that it is now on US, the citizens, to unite the country. i think that the people need to drive the politicians, not vice versa.

i really really really hope that more and more people take to your sentiments regarding the support the president needs of all of us….

5 11 2008
amy courts

Couple more things (sorry for the space I’m occupying!):

I admire your humility in addressing and even admitting arrogance. I believe – like CS Lewis pointed out in Mere Christianity – this is the crux of the human condition. And I, like you, responded as much out of proud self-defense as love. Probably more so. That we can continue to discuss despite hurtful things said (on both sides) speaks to the greatness of Christ.

You are right: no matter how we voted, Obama is now our President-elect, and is due the respect the office demands. In the last couple hours alone I’ve learned much from my Republican counterparts about respect for the office, if not for its Occupant. I have not been so respectful of Bush. I’m ashamed to say.

5 11 2008
Rob in Gallup

No need to apologize for “occupying space.” I blog as much to get input as I do to express my thoughts. 🙂 And I really appreciate what you have to say, even when we strongly disagree.

5 11 2008
HP

Rob,
I found the link to your blog from your post on Don Miller’s blog, and I wanted to thank you for offering a fresh perspective. Your position comes from a well-thought-out, grounded place, and I appreciate you sharing it with those of us “Christians in political transition”.
Most sincerely,
A fellow Christian Independent

5 11 2008
Cilla

Arrogant, perhaps, but tempered with a large dose of humility as well. Gosh, sounds like ‘human’ about fits you.

I pray for and support our president-elect. In the past eight years I have prayed for this country, but could not honestly pray for our president or truly support him. I feared him far more. I did not have those fears with either of the men running for office this year and felt I could lend my support to either, though I had my own preference.

I also found graciousness and inspiration from both Mr. McCain and Obama yesterday. I’m sure two little girls will adore their new puppy in what could be very intimidating surroundings, too. 🙂

5 11 2008
Todd Newton

Having already blogged about this topic today myself, I don’t have too much to add.

Regarding yesterday, I actually want to commend you for putting your opinions out there in the first place and articulating rebuttals and “sticking to your guns.” On the Internet, things sometimes get misconstrued and people can appear to be “arrogant” or otherwise without quite intending it. At any rate, we all respect that you HAD an opinion and that you gave us the opportunity to discuss it.

5 11 2008
pennepasta

We will render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar with the high praises of God in our mouths and the two-edged sword in our hands. Keep fighting the good fight, Rob in Gallup.

5 11 2008
Jordan Post

Rob,

For as long as I have known you, you have always been able to express yourself and your thoughts vividly and with tact, something I personally find challenging. What you wrote about in this blog I agree with immensely, from the lack of surprise of defeat in my vote, to being very pleased with the call to unity offered by Obama. I was equally moved by his speech and seeing his wife and daughters with him. After seeing and hearing, I know I can embrace the change that my new president is going to bring; regardless of our differences, I can support him as he will support me.

Smirch.

5 11 2008
Ash

Rob,
Janna sent me over to read your blog, and honestly, after reading this, I have the utmost respect for you and your readers!

I may not agree with your stance on certain issues, or even any of your issues for that matter; however, you are a true spirit of light and love, and I honor and respect you for your words.

Thank you!

5 11 2008
pennepasta

For too long, American Christians have been rocked in the arms of a post Christian country. We’ve been harmless as doves and thought that was our duty. Our new president has a very radical background. He may not support us. It’s very likely that he won’t. Very. It’s time for American Christians to remember what it means to be wise as serpents. Let us support him as long as he honors the triune God. But let us quickly and naturally draw the line, when he refuses. A man who submits a bill to allow for the killing of children who survive botched abortions–meaning they’re born ALIVE–may not be a president we can or even should support. We belong to God first. Never forget.

6 11 2008
Shawnna

Dear Rob-
I don’t believe you were arrogant in your previous post….rather you were (are) correct. I have five children, one of them only 21 months, and could not lay my head on my pillow at night with peace knowing I had cast a vote for someone (anyone) who did not fight to have abortion (partial birth or not) end. My husband and I recently read an account of what actually happens during this process and I literally could not finish reading it. Absolutely gruesome…..so maybe this makes me a shallow person for not voting for someone based mostly on one issue……but I don’t think so. My husband is a pastor and we had members of our congregation who voted in favor of Sen. Obama……they later (after the fact) asked how he voted and wanted to know his reasons, so he told them as a minister he just could not cast his vote with someone, who at the very least, did not oppose infantcide. I believe God shudders at this act. Enough said. Blessings to you for your stance.

6 11 2008
dean

Great Post!! While I did not vote for Obama, he will be my president also!! My feelings about his left leanings will not change. But I will support him. thanks again for a well written interesting blog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: