Well, here we are on the other side. A watershed moment. An historic election. And we, the American people, have made our choice.
Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States, and the nation’s first black president. And in elections across the country, Democrats won their seats in the Senate. When Obama takes office in January, he will do so with a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress.
“The American people have spoken, and spoken clearly,” McCain told his supporters in Arizona after the results came in.
But what about you? Those of you who took our RELEVANT poll yesterday favored McCain: 47 percent of you voted for the Arizona Senator and 33 percent of you for Obama. So, are you disappointed? Will you hang your heads today? Do you fear for our nation’s future? I’m not so sure.
So many of us—members of the widely contested “young evangelical voters”—were divided about this election. Not just as a group, but even in our own hearts. I know which candidate I chose, but it wasn’t an easy decision. And, to be honest, I didn’t really care who won. I agreed with both. I disagreed with both.
What I’m wondering now is where do we go from here?
While the electoral vote and popular vote strongly favored Obama, our country is still largely divided. This was a hard-fought, personal and passionate race. There are wounds on both sides. Can Obama and the Democratic congress heal those wounds? Can we help?
Yes and yes.
Obama ran as a unifier. He condemned our party divisions and championed cooperation across party lines. Many of the Democrats who won seats in the Senate ran with similar platforms. If Obama and the Congress majority maintain that position and “reach across the aisle” in the years to come, that will certainly go a long way in healing our wounds and unifying our country. Karl Rove has already expressed his own wish that the Republicans would do the same, “I hope we will support [Obama] when we agree with him, persuade him when we think his mind is open, and oppose him when we think he is wrong.”
Whether unity happens in Washington or not, the question still returns to us: what can we do to help? As Francis Schaeffer so famously put it, “How shall we then live?” Now that the election is over and Obama and the Democrats have so clearly won, how shall we then live? I believe that we, the young Christian voters, can uniquely answer this question. I believe, in fact, that this is the very question we are so primed to answer. Because this election and its profound life issues has galvanized us to true action.
Yes, we voted. But it’s more than that. Through this election, we’ve become aware of the major social issues of our day. And now we want to do something about them. We recognize an election will not change everything. We do not rest our hopes for change on a political party or candidate. We vote, we hope, but we don’t stop there. Tomorrow and the next day and the next and in January when Obama takes office, we get up and we continue our sojourn to follow Jesus. We live our votes for life, for justice, for peace, for equality.
We comfort our friend who tells us she’s considering abortion. Then we gently tell her why we believe life in the womb is precious. We help her find alternative options … and we stick by her side all through the pregnancy and birth and after. She is not a statistic or a faceless evil to us.
We love beyond racial, gender and sexual lines. We reject stereotypes. We embrace individuals. We work for reconciliation.
We do not talk about “that side of town,” we live there and work there and mentor there. We are a part of educational reform, and ESL, and rehabilitation.
We recycle. We reduce our imprint. We consciously make our purchases, recognizing the global implications. We strive to “live simply that others may simply live” (Ghandi).
We personally pray for our soldiers in Iraq, for the citizens of Iraq, for our leaders who are making tough decisions that affect millions of lives. We really do pray, and we believe our prayers matter.
We continue to work hard in the jobs God has given us, saving our money and stewarding our resources. We tithe. We donate. We volunteer.
We continually challenge each other to deepen our understanding of whole life ethics and Jesus’ call to follow Him.
I believe this is who we are. I believe this is who you are. I believe we can be the change we’ve voted for—no matter who we voted for.