Thursday, November 6, 2008

What Makes America Great

Thank God for November 5th!
The long - loooonnnng Presidential campaign is finally over, and like many others, I have a plethora of mixed emotions. This campaign has been going on for nearly two years. We have all probably had it up to here with the rhetoric, promises, talking points, charges, counter charges, attack ads, pundits, polls, and talking heads arguing on the cable news shows.

Voter turnout percentages were the highest for any national election in decades.. People were passionate about their candidates, and many stood in line for hours to cast their ballots. The campaign was hard fought, but by 11:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, November 4th, it was suddenly over.

The guy I voted for lost.

I was never really excited about John McCain's candidacy, but I was truly disappointed to see him finish about six points behind Illinois Senator Barack Obama. After all, there were other Republican candidates whom I found to be more representative of my conservative ideology. However, McCain did hold to certain issues that resonate with me, such as his right to life stance, his stand on the issue of same sex marriages, his opposition to congressional earmarks and pork barrel spending, his plan to keep the Bush tax cuts in place and to cut the capital gains taxes. I also respect his military experience and feel that he would have been a capable Commander in Chief.

On the other hand, Senator Obama's brief (but very liberal) senate voting record and lack of substantial experience seemed problematic to me. His judgement came into question in my mind concerning his past (and present) ties to such controversial figures as William Ayers, Tony Rezko, Louis Farakhan, and Jeremiah Wright. I found his "nay" vote in the Illinois State Senate against their version of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act to be equal to an agreement with infanticide. His Marxist sounding rhetoric regarding "spreading the wealth around" and former statements regarding the constitution send chills up my spine.

As I said earlier - mixed emotions. How so?

While I disagree with Senator Obama on most social and economic issues, and still have many troubling questions about this man who is an almost unknown quantity, I have nothing but admiration how he has risen from nowhere to be elected to the highest office in the land. Through my personal disappointment, there was still a place in my heart that shared in the happiness of so many of our fellow countrymen of African descent. While I never was personally the object of racial hatred and prejudice I do remember the segregated schools, lunch counters, and water fountains of the late 50's and early 60's. I remember well the news reports of the fire hoses and police dogs in Birmingham. I remember Alabama Governor George Wallace's "stand in the school house door", and federal troops escorting a hand full of black teenagers to class at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, surrounded by mobs of jeering students and adults.

My fellow baby boomers never saw the days of slavery. We did, however, come of age when the scars of that darkest chapter in American history were still open wounds, festering in our society. The very idea that a black man might be elected President in our lifetimes seemed to be fantasy. The sin of racism is not gone - in fact it still exists among some blacks as well as some whites. Yet no one can argue that history has been made this week.

Now, with that being said, let me get to the point of the title of this post.

The bitter election fight came to an end on Tuesday night. Senator McCain called Senator Obama to congratulate him on his victory and to state his support for him as President Elect. President George W. Bush, (who had daily been a campaign punching bag for Obama, Senator Biden and their surrogates) publicly congratulated the Senator on his accomplishment and extended a gracious invitation to he and his family for a visit to their future home in the White House. Bush offered full help and cooperation to Senator Obama's people as they begin the transition phase. Starting this morning, the Senator began to receive the same daily briefings that President Bush gets on security and international issues.

On January 21, 2008 an orderly transfer of power will take place. One administration will pass and a new (and very different) one will ascend to the head of the Executive Branch of our government. Ideologies and policies coming in will be almost the exact opposite of those of the outgoing administration. This transfer of power will take place peacefully, because our Constitution mandates how this is done. The voters have spoken. Changes will be evident. But the Republic continues as the great ship of state changes course.

While he did not get my vote, President Elect Obama will get my respect and support because of the importance of the office which he assumes. He will not be the President of the black Americans, nor will he be the President of the Democrats. Barack Obama will be the President of the United States of America. The election is over, and power is his for the next four years. I believe it is my duty to pray for my President because the Bible tells us to pray "for kings and all who are in authority" (1 Tim. 2:1-2).

I will pray for him to be granted wisdom from Almighty God for every position he appoints and every decision he makes. While I may not agree with many of his policies, I also know that "the king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water; he turns it whithersoever he will" (Proverbs 21:1). While Senator Obama's past actions and judgments may be suspect, I will pray that God will change his heart and channel it toward what is right in the sight of God. I hope you will join me in this fervent prayer.

Finally, it would also be well for all of our elected officials, from President to City Councilman to remember one thing. It's a truth found in 1 Corinthians 2:5-6 where Paul writes "Your faith should not be in the wisdom of men, but in the power f God. However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age who are coming to nothing." Our elected officials are in a position of temporary stewardship, but their authority is limited. It will eventually come to an end.

God is in control.

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