According to the latest polls, most Americans are tired of the election process and glad to see the 2016 Presidential Election come to a close. Most showed their disdain in the marked absence at the voting booth, as there was a record low in the voter turnout in the last twenty years. Both of the nominees of the major political parties received remarkably high disapproval ratings. Those who were willing to cast a vote had to plug their nose as they pulled the proverbial lever. Voters of each candidate believed that they were voting for the lesser of two evils. Now that it is over, many of us have issued a collective sigh of relief as we look to the future and get back to our lives. But after people were so thoroughly invested in this election, with cries about how the sky would collapse, cities would be burned to the ground, and slavery would be reinstated, should the other side win, many people are not just moving on to their lives. Many of us are in recovery. Throughout this article, I want to help you in the process of reorienting yourself after a tumultuous election cycle.
Doubtless, many have read the previous paragraph and are already enraged, preparing to write some comment in all capital letters, telling me to “Get over it, it’s over.” I am over it, and this article is not to be considered “Final Reflections On The Election,” though I did think of writing something like that. I am not here to complain about the results of the election or say that the end is near as seems to be trending (and would be no matter what the outcome of the election was). In fact, I can say that I would probably write a very similar, if not identical, article had the outcome of the election been different. This not about the election. It is about you and I. It is about reorienting yourself after a tumultuous election cycle.
Hug A Democrat
There are certain fundamental differences between people of different political backgrounds. We need an enemy. We need somebody to fuel the flames of emotion so that we can feel like we are fighting for a worthy cause. If there is no enemy, then there is no need for change. There is nobody who is holding us back from righteousness. So we tend to view people of opposing political backgrounds as “the other.” Throughout the last year, and especially in the last two months, people were viewed almost exclusively by their political association. Oh, you must be one of those Hillary supporters, or Ah, I see that you are a Trump supporter. That is their identity. They are the bad guy. They are evil liberals who are conned by the media and would slit your throat given half a chance. They are hateful racists who think that some people should not have equal rights. That is why everybody is so terrified after the election was over, and would be no matter who was the victor. Everybody is seen as the other and there is no opportunity for dialogue.
But now that the election is over, it is a good time for self-reflection. Rather than reflexing with something like, “But they…” and then listing the demerits of the collective Hillary supporters, try to think of people as individuals with their own reasons that are very similar to yours. Even the dreaded Hillary supporters have red blood, cry when their loved one passes away, care for their children, drink coffee in the morning, and are concerned about their future. There is a significant difference between a political rival and a political enemy. Both sides are guilty of creating political enemies. It is my hope that in the future, we would be better about understanding other people, their reasons and their desires and adequately explaining our position. When we just shout one-liners at one another, that is really not helping any cause and only furthers the divide and establishes them as the other. There does not need to be an other. Hug a democrat.
Learn To Think Critically
If there is anything to be gleaned from this election about contemporary culture, it is the propaganda and bias of the media. Liberals have won the cultural war precisely through this and other resources. When people turn on the news, they are expecting to see objective coverage of world issues. However, throughout this election cycle, it became abundantly clear that major, national news organizations had a heavy political slant. When we wanted objective coverage of news and events, they were exaggerating or covering up certain facts, telling the world that they can only read Wikileaks when they were there to interpret it for them. On a practical level, this is something that should cause us a bit of introspection. After all, if the media, Hollywood, or even our own government, wants us to believe something, we need to be able to assess the facts critically, without bias. That means that it is not sufficient to just say, “The media is lying,” but to really think about the world around us.
Perhaps the most effective way to improve your critical thinking skills is to read books that cause you to think critically. Like the rest of your body, your brain will adapt to what you train it to do. If you exercise in the morning, your body will adapt. If you only eat junk food, your body will adapt. If you spend all of your hours watching television or playing video games, your brain will adapt to that. You will become lazy in your thinking, more prone to believe what you are being told and less likely to think critically about things that matter. Train your mind by reading good, theological and philosophical books. A few good options to get you started are Metaphysics by William Hasker, Confessions by Saint Augustine, or Everybody’s A Theologian by RC Sproul. If reading is difficult for you, work your way up to it by watching a few challenging lectures about the Bible. Listen to sermons. Train your brain to be disciplined.
Winning The Cultural War Is More Important Than Winning The White House
After the 2016 Presidential Election, young college students took to the streets, claiming that the world was coming to an end, that democracy as we know it would be compromised, that human rights would be a thing of the past. Why? A Republican made his way into the White House. But Democrats have something in their grasp that is perhaps more significant than the White House. They have the culture. If you have not noticed, secularism is winning the cultural war, pushing Christianity to the recesses of society where it has been for two-thousand years in every culture. If you espouse a Christian view of morality on a wide range of topics, you will be shouted down, shunned, abandoned by your friends, called a bigot, and more. That is not to raise some cheap flag of persecution, but to point out that Christianity is losing the cultural war. Secularism is winning the cultural war. That is far more significant.
So, how does one win the cultural war? How can Christianity reemerge as a victor? Perhaps it cannot and perhaps it never will. Christianity, by its’ very nature, is persecuted because the natural man hates the things of God. If we are going to see a cultural shift, it will have to be a work of God who will soften and regenerate the hearts of men. He does that through the preaching of the gospel, which is the power of God (Romans 1:16). The apostle Paul listed as a philosophy of ministry in 1st Corinthians 9:22-23, “…I have become all things to all people so that by all means, I might save some.” In the presence of Jews, he would only eat what they allowed. In the presense of Greeks, he ate anything that they would eat. He used the cultural prescriptions to preach the gospel.
Similarly, people today are children of the Renaissance. They respond to science and evidence. It is more important now, than ever, to have a firm understanding of apologetics and theology so that you can share the evidence for God’s existence. Start a blog. Read I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist by Dr. Frank Turek. If you want to win the cultural war, you need to contribute to the effort to portray Christianity as a rational alternative. Winning the culture is more important than winning the White House.
Remember That The Issues That Emerged In The Election Cycle Still Exist
In a recent episode of Real Time With Bill Maher, the liberal host lamented that Republicans would probably soon overturn Roe Vs Wade. I am thrilled about that, and excited that Maher is so certain of that truth. Even so, the issues that emerged throughout the election cycle, such as abortion, are real. They still exist today and they will tomorrow. The solution to these problems is not to cast a ballot and wait for the big man in Washington to solve all of your problems. If you voted for Trump with the hope that he would nominate a conservative to the Supreme Court Justice and contribute to the effort against abortion, then you should know that there is a lot of work to be done. We cannot just wait for Trump to save us all. Donate to or volunteer for a pro-life prengancy center, such as Care Net. They do not have federal funding like your local abortion mill.
Similarly, learn to express the case for life beyond a few of your favorite one-liners. I was thoroughly disappointed with Donald Trump’s debate performance when he was asked about abortion. While I was encouraged that he stood against it in the debate without wavering, I was disappointed because that would have been an excellent opportunity to state the case for life. Abortion literally  takes the lives of human beings and  devalues human beings, regarding them as nothing more than animals. In this way, it is very similar to slave-trading. Read The Case For Life by Scott Klusendorf. Understand what you believe so that you can articulate it. Read Correct, Not Politically Correct: How Same Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone by Dr. Frank Turek. If you understand these issues and get to work, it will make a big impact. If these are truly things that you care about, then you will not just wait for the big man in Washington do something about it.
Remember That The World Is Not Going To End
Throughout the election cycle, and especially toward the end, the propaganda intensified and the rhetoric reached a high-point. President Obama testified that a Trump presidency would have the effect of overturning our democracy. Hillary Clinton said much that was to the same effect. The alarmists in the media were probably worse than both of them. Consequently, people all over the world now seem to believe that Hitler has taken office. While one may be disappointed with the results of the election, one does not have to start packing survival gear just because a Republican won the White House. The world is not coming to an end. God is still on his throne. The promise of the gospel still stands: all who turn away from their sin and put their trust in the promises that God made through the sacrifice of the Son will be instantly forgiven and granted the free gift of eternal life (Romans 4:5; John 3:16).