The presidential debate last night between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump may have very well been the lowest moment in American political history. Even before the debate began, one of the candidates decided to put on a spectacle that felt more like a sideshow circus act than a presidential debate. The debate did not make it any better, for within the first thirty minutes both candidates were leveling sexual accusations against the other or the other’s spouse. One candidate even threatened to jail his opponent if elected.
America, we are better than this! We are better than what we are seeing and hearing from this election. We have candidates from our two major parties whom the country does not embrace all that enthusiastically. We have slipped into rhetoric that sounds more like a…I was going to say a middle school lunchroom…but I feel like they are even better than what we are currently seeing and hearing. What has happened to us, America? How did we get to this point? How have we fallen so far?
In my sermon yesterday, I made the following statement, “The reality we don’t want to face is that what we have seen over the last few months sadly reveals what we have become (as a nation).” American politics is simply mimicking what plays out all across this country. Let me be even more pointed, we elect the politicians we deserve. What does this mean? America, we deserve what we are seeing and hearing because simply stated, they…are…us.
The Prophet Hosea rebuked a nation that had prostituted itself. Listen to his words, “Hear the word of the Lord, O people of Israel; for the Lord has an indictment against the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or loyalty, and no knowledge of God in the land. Swearing, lying, and murder, and stealing and adultery break out; bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore the land mourns, and all who live in it languish (Hosea 4:1-3a).
America, we too are heading down this road of self-destruction. We are heading down a road where disgusting sexual discourse and possible sexual assault can be explained away if it benefits “our” candidate. We are heading down a road where “saying anything to get elected” is just “playing politics.” We are heading down a road where the real issues are only a backdrop to the reality-television mentality we crave. We are heading down a road where we hold our next president to the same standards we hold for a contestant on the next season of “The Bachelor.”
America, we are better than this! While we are a deeply divided nation now, my prayer for our country is that we learn from this mistake. The time to rise out of our current predicament has arrived. The time for new leaders to emerge, from a new generation, has come. Our democracy is stronger when liberals and conservatives work together with integrity, civility, and wisdom to make this nation a more perfect union. We must live with our past mistakes, but this is no excuse why we cannot begin working towards reconciliation and a better tomorrow. We can have a brighter future, but we need new leaders with new voices to begin the march forward.
Again, the Prophet Hosea, ““Come, let us return to the Lord; for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us; he has struck down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord; his appearing is as sure as the dawn; he will come to us like the showers, like the spring rains that water the earth” (Hosea 6:1-3).
America, we are better than this!