It is the day before the election as I write these lines, and whatever the outcome, I will be glad when it’s over. Some will be elated by the results, and others will feel dejected, but regardless of who wins or loses, our world will still be broken and suffering from ills that government is powerless to cure. Our lives will still be chaotic and in need of tranquility; grief and loss will continue to haunt us; we will still face the challenge of finding meaning and a faith that can sustain us through tough times.
Campaigning in America often carries messianic overtones, and politicians collude in the drama by puffing their biographies to mythic proportions. They make big promises, but no new administration can deliver friendship, peace of mind, personal integrity, or a sense of self-worth. Finding the qualities that make life worth living, building them into our daily lives, and passing them along to our children, will continue to be our personal responsibility, regardless of who controls town hall, congress, or the White House.
Voting is important, but there are many other ways in which we can exercise power in our own lives and influence the world for the better. Self-government, after all, begins at home: with how I treat my neighbor, relate to my family, care for my community, and how I work and play. Hope for the future depends less on who gets elected than on our ability to exercise our own power for good.