I don’t generally comment on politics, for various reasons, not least of which is that I have little time to spend following issues and arguments and so I feel particularly unqualified to comment. This is especially true of US politics and the election of the new president. I confess ignorance about the specific policies of either candidate other than that gleaned from ‘propaganda’ on various irreverent websites I lurk around. I get the sense that there are positives and negatives on both sides and that neither is the perfect person for the job. But then, who is?
What I do feel encouraged by is the strong desire for change and for the ‘maturity’ to embrace it. Particularly so in the selection of an African-American. Whilst ‘isms should not be an element in such a decision, there’s no escaping the fact that they are – overtly in the more ignorant accusations against Obama or the sexism aimed at Palin or the more subtle undercurrents that we are unaware of but influence our decisions.
Perhaps more importantly than the desire for change is the overcoming of voter apathy and the sense of ‘enfranchisement’ that the potential for change has brought. That, more than anything, has been the hallmark of this particular political battle. People have seen a personal ‘hope’ and have become energised by it. Obama is far from being your typical Afro-American and yet still seems to encapsulate the ‘possibility’ of ‘everyman’ achieving a goal.
It would perhaps be pertinent on a blog more generally concerned with theology to do a cheesy “and in a funny way that reminds me of…” link to something but I’ll resist the temptation other than to suggest that those who would minister to God’s people would do well to remember that it can be all too easy, through our ‘isms, to ‘disenfranchise’, even unintentionally, those who would seek God. And when ‘hope’ doesn’t mean happier tomorrows, more money or a bigger house but rather is an acknowledgement of a person’s struggles, a validation of their deepest concerns or a simple recognition of their existence then we are bringing the gospel into the very heart of a person’s needs.