Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I am both relieved and happy at the election of Barack Obama as our 44th President

POST-SIMPLISTIC AMERICA. I've been trying to think of what to post today--the first day of what culture critic Stanley Crouch calls the "post-simplistic" America, in which the old ways of thinking about race and neighbor are not only called into question but eclipsed by more graceful terms of public discourse. In many ways, it seemed like a tide turned yesterday.

FEAR REBUFFED. On the one hand, I want to express my relief. Relief that most American voters saw through the politics of fear. Relief that the expected "Bradley Effect" did not occur. Relief that whatever voter intimidation and fraud there was was overwhelmed and overcome. Relief that enough white voters expressed their hope instead of their fears. Relief that enough anti-abortion voters saw and expressed a fuller pro-life ethic. Relief that Carl Rove-style campaigning may have finally (or at least for now) been exposed for what it really is.

I AGREE WITH HIS SPIRIT. On the other hand, I want to express my happiness. Yes, I am happy that Barack Obama won this election. I felt like he represented something intrinsically hopeful and challenging for America. I do not agree with all his proposals, but I agree with his spirit and respect the manner in which he has approached this campaign. And, if you know me very well, you know I usually pull for the long-shot, unlikely underdog--and that's what Barack Obama has been from the start. I am happy for all minorities who have struggled against bigotry and injustice for so long. So, yes, I wept last night as I watched the celebrations in Grant Park. Whatever part of my spirit that cries out for justice and compassion for struggling neighbors in our community, nation and world has been touched deeply. I am not giddy. I am not high-fiving people. I am not in a "take that, mean people everywhere!" mode. I am simply reveling quietly in the breakthrough this morning.

THERE WILL BE OTHER DAYS. There will be other days to be more objective and critical. There will be other days to try to speak truth to power, as I have many times to President George W. Bush. There will be other days to distinguish the mission of the church and the Christian from the government and the nation. There will be other days to address the important nuances, etc. But I am relieved and happy at the decision of the American people to elect Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States.

I welcome your comments and/or questions in the spirit of dialog. Share yours by clicking on "comments" just below. They're moderated only to reduce incivility. Shalom!

1 comment:

  1. thank you john. thank you for being another sojourneresque voice for "the fuller pro-life" ethic.
    we know that obama has both the intelligence and the political mandate to affect the change he has campaigned for. let us pray that he likewise has the character and the will.


Your tasteful comments and/or questions are welcome. Posts are moderated only to reduce a few instances of incivility.