This World is Passing Away – The Next President Can’t Change That

Presidential campaigns, especially tight races, tend toward ever more vitriolic claims against their opponents.  The intention seems to be to reach the undecided voters and/or the party members who tend toward the middle and might be tempted to vote for “the other guy.”  The campaigns appeal to fear if not outright dread – it will be horrible for us all if “the other guy” wins.  The intention is to try to force those drifting away back into the fold by appealing to their basest fears and to try to scare those in the middle to come in and join the party where things are safe.  

The campaigns are willing to lose sight of reason and fact and to appeal to the worst fears of the wavering or undecided voters:  the world as we know it is about to end.   Which as it turns out is a biblical truth, but not exactly what the campaign gurus have in mind, because they actually don’t believe the world is going to end but rather believe it is going to continue on which is why they are trying to win the election and prevent their opponents from winning.

That the world is going to end and that we need to consider what this means for our life in this world is a biblical truth.  St. Paul for example writing about marriage, not politics, offers thoughts that could easily apply to our current election worries:

From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away. I want you to be free from anxieties. (1 Corinthians 7:29-32)

St. Paul does not advocate anxiety as a way to deal with this world; he advocates adjusting our thinking about this world by realizing the world is not eternal, it is passing away; there exists the reality of God’s Kingdom which lasts forever.  So don’t be terrified by what is happening in this world, fear God who is the ultimate judge of all things.

Regarding who might win this year’s presidential election, and who we FEAR might win, I offer contrasting thoughts from St. John’s First Epistle:

At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.  (2:8)

For all that is in the world- the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions-is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.  (2:16-18)

Whether the next president ushers in the true light or turns out to be an agent for the antichrist, the reality is this world is passing away.   Political victories are of a transitory nature and don’t resolve the world’s problems once and for all.  Shall we be so afraid of our next president?    As our Lord Jesus said, “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!”   (Luke 12:4-5)

Some are especially afraid of what an Obama presidency might mean.  However if history is an indication, it might not mean what people fear.  Jon Meacham writes in his October 27, 2008 Newsweek article, It’s Not Easy Being Blue ,

 In introducing his classic 1948 book “The American Political Tradition,” Richard Hofstadter quoted John Dos Passos: “In times of change and danger, when there is a quicksand of fear under men’s reasoning, a sense of continuity with generations gone before can stretch like a lifeline across the scary present.” … Hofstadter encapsulated the center-right point about the country better than most, writing: “The sanctity of private property, the right of the individual to dispose of and invest it, the value of opportunity, and the natural evolution of self-interest and self-assertion, within broad legal limits, into a beneficent social order have been staple tenets of the central faith in American political ideologies; these conceptions have been shared in large part by men as diverse as Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, Cleveland, Bryan, Wilson, and Hoover.”

Meacham certainly believes McCain and Obama are safely within the mainstream of American values.  As Meacham reminds us: 

The first two years of the Clinton administration gave way to the Gingrich-led Republican landslide of 1994 (one of the GOP victories that night: George W. Bush’s win over Ann Richards in Texas). … The lesson is one with bipartisan relevance: parties nearly always overreach.

Political parties in America learn the lesson that America is a centrist or center right country the hard way –  by losing elections!  If God wills, there will be another election in a few years, and another chance for Americans to correct their course again, no matter who becomes president this time around.  No matter who wins, the truth remains that this earth is passing away and only in God’s Kingdom will there be no more sickness, sighing or sorrow, meanwhile we sigh and eventually face another election, if God so wills.