Shelburne: Good time for humility on all sides
November 17, 2016
Wow. Like it or loathe it, what happened on Election Day 2016 was one of the most amazing events in America’s not-really-very-long-yet history.
Long before Nov. 8, this election cycle was feeling agonizingly lengthy — yea, verily, almost eternal — and things were shaping up, well, interestingly, to say the least.
Once we muddled through the conventions, more than a few folks across the political spectrum found themselves fervently wishing that “none of the above” was a valid ballot choice. Lots of folks felt that the presidential options being offered were decidedly non-presidential, even appalling, a real choice but one on the level of choosing between a root canal or a rectal exam. Not a choice likely to bring much joy.
Voting is an incredible privilege. But it’s not fun to feel like pushing a button or coloring in an oval for either candidate would necessitate some serious finger scrubbing or maybe even amputation to remove the resulting stain. More than a few folks left the voting booth sad and angry a great nation could be offered such a rotten choice.
Real respect and trust for the candidates was at a record low for a record high number of voters. In the days leading up to the election, one leading presidential candidate was being FBI-investigated again for, at best, a serious lapse in judgement and, at worst, a criminal act.
And the other candidate? Well, when his running mate (both running mates were rated far more favorably than their candidates) wasn’t hiding in embarrassment, he made a comment about this flawed but “good” man, and columnist George Will wryly asked, “What would a bad man look like?”
Time marched on. Election Day came. And just when it seemed that one candidate would be justified in the measuring the White House for new drapes, and the other would have to settle for life in a tower and not in a white mansion ... well, you know what happened. I’m still sleep-deprived from watching it unfold — and it “unfolded” down through the “down ballot” races, too.
It’s still unfolding. You can pick from a long list of adjectives to describe it, but “fascinating” is one. Evidently many Americans, most of us in one way or another, are just fed up and ready, politically speaking, to light a match to the whole thing.
It is, however, a very good idea to remember that if you burn something down, you have a responsibility to build something better in its place. However we voted, the election is over. Though I absolutely affirm the right of anyone to peacefully make their opinion known, I’ve never felt a need to march in protest if my candidate didn’t win. It’s over.
It is a good time, on all sides, for some humility. And grace. And the wisdom and civility to talk to and try to hear those with whom we disagree. I think I saw in Donald Trump’s face during his acceptance speech something that might almost have been sincere humility. A weight much heavier than Trump Tower has just been placed on his shoulders. I pray for wisdom, for wise advisers, for humility, and grace. The kind that sort of weight might produce.
All Americans should pray that our new president will do well. For Christians, praying for him is not just a good thing, it’s a command.
I thought it was nice to see our soon-to-be president hosted in the White House by our present president. It felt good that they were civil. The kids like it when the parents quit fighting and actually talk. I think our Father, our King, likes it, too.
Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at: