This election cycle is certainly one for the history books. I don’t know if there has been a more contentious campaign since Lincoln and Douglas just prior to the Civil War – and the mudslinging then, pales in comparison with today. If we are not careful we can easily get caught up in Donald’s (or Bill’s) sexual misconduct or the accusations of high-level interference with federal investigations against Hillary. At the end of the day, however, we are left with disappointingly few choices. At this point it appears to me that the most basic question is, “Which of these candidates will most likely yield the better future for our Nation?”
Of the many issues that have saddened me in this current election cycle, there is one that has grieved me more than any other. It is so egregious that it cuts deep into my spiritual makeup and wounds me to my very soul.
Let’s face it. Politics has always been contentious. Thomas Jefferson’s campaign accused John Adams of having, “”hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.” Adam’s camp fired back with accusations that Jefferson was part Indian (Native American) and part African. The slander just grew from there.
Why does it seem that otherwise intelligent people lose all sense of consistency when election time rolls around? How can people live by stringent core values only to apparently throw them out the window when the time comes to choose and defend a candidate? Believe it or not, it is completely predictable using basic psychology, and its effect is on full display this year.
Let me begin with a word of warning. If you aren’t careful, you could easily fall into the very trap I am describing, while you are reading this blog. Chances are, you will come across something that grates at your very core and makes you want to click the close button to quickly move on while discarding this blog as irrelevant. I challenge you to read all the way to the end and then decide if you are truly being consistent in your judgement.
As hurricane Matthew edged its way up the eastern seaboard, my family and I were at relative ease. Life was fairly routine. Sure, we had secured loose furniture and the like, but we really weren’t predicting much more than an average NC thunderstorm. Although earlier reports had predicted a hard hit on Wilmington and the surrounding area, the latest forecasts had the storm moving back out to sea with a possible loop back toward Florida. A friend of mine from the Sunshine State, with deep ties to North Carolina, said confidently, “It looks like it’s going to miss you.”
As time and the howling winds would inevitably disclose, the storm had other plans. As I type by candlelight using the precious energy stored in my MacBook battery – on our third day without electricity – I am reminded that life is anything but predictable. People have lost their lives. Our little community is almost completely surrounded by flooding and washed out roads. Two major Interstates have sections that are closed. Trees, shingles, siding and other objects litter our streets and yards, and folks line up for blocks in both directions to get a little gas for their car or generator. It’s after 7:30 PM and the curfew is now in full effect.
I am also reminded, however, that drastic and immediate changes to our normal day-to-day patterns can help us re-evaluate our priorities and set new courses. Here are a few of the lessons I have learned in the storm.