The pundits still say it's going to be a close one. There's even the possibility of one winning without the majority of the popular vote, again.
What disturbs me most about this election is the possibility one man will win and we all will lose.
We have become a divided nation, a nation of dogmatic positions, of uncompromising demands, a nation of “my way or the highway.”
I can't tell you which program it was, but on a National Public Radio program in the last few days they reported on the extremes to which we've gone. One family was having a cookout, barbequed ribs on the grill. But the husband of the host family told his brother-in-law he would have to bring his own ribs if he was going to vote for President Obama.
I'm not sure exactly what the implications of that conditioned invitation were, the thought a vote could be bought for the price of some ribs, the proclamation of “you're not welcome unless you conform to my views,” or simply “I'm the north end of the southbound horse married to your sister.”
I am sure of this. We are a house divided. We have become a people who believe that those who disagree with us are the enemy. We have little patience for those on the opposite side of the political issue.
Sadly, much of the division is based on a particular religious perspective. It's one I'm not comfortable with, one based on dogmatism, a certainty of the will of God. It is that position that makes me uncomfortable. What kind of God would be a God whose absolute will I could comprehend?
Years ago, I read Michelle Goldberg's Kingdom Coming, The Rise of Christian Nationalism. In this book she illustrates how an increasingly uncompromising fundamentalism is gaining traction in our political processes. She illustrates the ever-widening gap between the believers and the non-believers. I have this dread that, whatever the results of the election, we will be drawn more and more into this divide and the possibility of bridging the chasm will become more and more difficult.
There are times when I feel part of the problem is the hesitancy of those less fundamental, more tolerant of other views, lest prone to wish for some type of oligarchical outcome of the electoral process, never standing up to the fundamental assumptions of the other side. And yet, to stand up with any sense of insistence, would move toward the same intolerance that makes the other side unattractive.
I don't have an answer here. I just raise the question. And I'm firmly convinced that whatever the outcome, whether Mitt Romney is elected or Barack Obama gets another four years, it will not be either of the candidates abilities that determine our future. It will, rather, be our ability to confront, deal with, and resolve the divide between the religious right and left.