Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day

Today is election day. At some point I'll slip into my precinct polling place and push the buttons on a voting machine.

Politics is a tricky thing. There is a perennial temptation to idolize the political order and look to it to "make all things new." You know the drill, "Bush is elected! Now things will be good!" or "Clinton is in -- now everything will change for the better." The result of putting those kind of hopes into politics is always disappointment. The challenge is to not let disappointment sink into cynicism. Cynicism with politics is the notion that since the political order does not bring utopia then the whole thing is a sham and not worthy of paying attention to. Now don't get me wrong -- there is plenty of grist for the cynicism mill in politics. But that's true of any area of life -- heck just think about organized religion as an example!

As a Christian I try to live in the balance (I am reminded of lyrics by John Mellencamp, "I know there is a balance, I see it when I swing past.) between naive idealism and cynicism. Voting is important but not ultimate, nor even penultimate. I am guessing that if the votes I cast today are losing votes my life will be the same tomorrow as it is today.

But I will vote. Partly I vote because I know what a rare thing it is in human history for a person to have any say in what happens with a government. Just being able to vote seems like such a big deal to me that I will do it. I think voting is important and makes a difference. But my hope is not in politics, or government or the democrats or the republicans. My hope is in the savior who will one day receive homage from all the kings of the earth. Now that will be an exercise in ultimate politics!

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