Friday, January 6, 2012

2012 Election Reflection

We’ve heard a lot about how all-important the US presidential race is this year, as though the very survival of civilization rested on the outcome of our next election.

I agree that the choices offered this year are important, and that how or whether to exercise the one vote each of us has deserves careful thought. The following, however, is an attempt to put things in a larger perspective, to look at the bigger historical picture and not just that of our own small corner of the globe.

     First, the United States is only one of 230 nations in the world, and represents a mere 5% of the world's people--even though it currently controls the majority of the world's wealth and military might. From a Biblical perspective, all nations are of minor consequence in comparison to God’s worldwide, eternal kingdom. As world citizens, we need to think less of governments simply ruling us and more about urging all of them to act in more just and in less violent ways.

     Second, we need to remind ourselves that a US president is the chief presider and leader of only one of three branches of a federal government, and that the judicial and legislative branches are equally deserving of attention and concern. This three-part federal system, in turn, must share power with 50 states and commonwealths, each made up of county and municipal governments, and each responsible to the people being governed.

In other words, we are electing a presider of one branch of one part of a democracy made up of citizens, and not choosing a monarch or dictator over a kingdom of mere subjects. Besides, each president's four-year term is less than 2% of this nation's relatively brief 235-year history, and that brief history represents only 5% of the total span of civilization as we know it.

     Finally, we (US Americans) are not a “chosen people” whose culture and way of life is superior to everyone else’s. Take our national language, for example. Our one official tongue is English, mostly the language of white Caucasians. While English is popular worldwide as a second language, it is still only one of nearly 7000 spoken around the world. There is no superior race, language or nationality.

     So for perspective’s sake, how about a more humble opinion of our importance, while respecting others' ways of thinking and living elsewhere on the globe?
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