Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Everything's going to be OK.

He won. I doubt anybody was really surprised at the results….it seemed inevitable. In my opinion, there are three things that sealed the fate of Senator McCain (aside from a campaign that seemed poorly managed). First of all, there was the selection of Sarah Palin as running mate. While this certainly energized the base, it seemed more like a stunt than a well thought out decision. Secondly, there was the George Bush factor. Aside from being the least popular President in history, he is arguable the second worst in modern history (Jimmy Carter topping the list). While people like to point fingers at outside circumstances, Party leaders, and other things; the fact is that under his Presidency America has become a less stable country than it was 8 years ago. Job markets are down, bankruptcy is up, the housing market collapsed, the national debt is at an all-time high, and we are engaged in two separate wars. His message to Americans the day after 9/11 was “take a vacation and spend some money” – during the last great American war, the message was “sacrifice”. I could go on, but you get the picture. The fact that McCain is a member of the same political Party as Bush handicapped him from the get-go. Frankly, it would have been shocking for America to elect a Republican President again this year. The third thing that hurt McCain was really the death blow to his chances – he seemed to be overcoming these other two items fine (against all odds). That third issue was the melt-down of our financial markets. I’m not sure that it’s fair for McCain to have taken the hit for this, but he did and it sealed the deal for Senator Obama.

So, what now? I’ve been reading Christian bloggers as well as comments to Christian blogs around the internet and there seems to be an overwhelming fear, sadness, and even anger over the fact that, in a couple of months we will be saying the words “President Obama”. I’m going to make a bold prediction here, folks…..are you ready for it? Here it is:


Presidents tend to go toward the center once in office. Even Senator Obama became more and more “centrist” as the campaign wore on. Granted, he will push some clearly leftist social policies, and he will almost certainly offer up some extremely liberal fiscal policies (not exactly a major change), but our world will likely not change all that much. Think about the last 6 or so Presidents. Outside of Jimmy Carter all these guys worked hard with the other side. Even President Bush did that during his first term (not so much during his second term, though). We’ll know more about how Senator Obama’s Presidency will look in the next week or so as he begins to name his Cabinet. I think you can expect to hear some names like Joe Lieberman and some moderate Republicans and Democrats named to it. If I’m wrong and he names a completely liberal Cabinet….well, we’ll only have him in office for one term.

In the mean time, friends, take heart! The world was supposed to end when President Clinton was elected, but that ended up not being so bad after all. I’ve heard and seen people make claims that President-elect Obama is a radical, Israel hating, un-American, socialistic, communistic, United States hating, terrorist loving, fanatic. I have news for you…..those sorts of guys don’t get elected to become President. Besides, if all that were actually true, his Presidency wouldn’t even last a full term.

On the positive side of this whole thing, it was certainly a privilege to be able to witness such an historical election during my lifetime. Despite all my major quibbles with Obama’s stances on several key social and moral issues, I wish him well. He’s inheriting perhaps the biggest messes that any President has inherited during my lifetime. He’s got a tough job ahead of him, not the least of which is attempting to live up to all the hype. I hope and pray that his is a good Presidency…one of peace and prosperity to this nation.

On a personal note, not many people know that I was born in Mississippi. As a child I spent nearly every summer in one of the more racially intense parts of the state – “Mississippi Burning” territory. Racial segregation was still a way of life down there even 20 – 25 years ago. When I was 10 years old (25 years ago) all the pools in town were “private”. That meant that only paying “members” were allowed in. I was a white kid who wasn’t a member, but I could get in to any pool I wanted. During my teenage years I made several black friends there on the basketball court. When I would go to the pool to swim, these friends would always come by, stand outside the fence, and talk to us….it was normal to them. The white kids got to swim in the nice pools in town; the black kids got to swim in the rivers and creeks. This was indicative of the attitudes of the time….the black man was simply not on the same level as the white man.

When I was back there last year for my Grandmother’s funeral, I noticed that a lot had changed. The old remnants of hard-core segregation are a little more difficult to see now. While there are still some racial tensions there, it’s not as overt or intense. The black man is generally not treated as a second-class citizen there these days. All that said, I’ll have to admit that there’s a part of me that is truly thrilled to see a black man elected as President of the United States of America. It’s historic. While I didn’t stay up to watch many of the election results come in last night, I caught some of the morning news shows this morning. It was moving to see the emotional reactions. A camera panned to Jesse Jackson – a man who spent a lot of time working with MLK during the height of the Civil Rights movement. He was in tears as he was hit with the realization that the first black President of the United States had just been elected. Regardless of how I feel about Jackson or Obama, it was a moving picture. This moment in American history is one we can applaud…one that, when our grandchildren ask about it, we’ll be able to say….”I was there”.

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