One Day More (Till the Election)

One Day More (Till the Election)

adapted from “One Day More” from the musical Les Miserables

[Random American Citizen]
One day more!
Another day, another destiny.
This never-ending stream of baloney;
I can’t believe it’s come to this;
It makes previous elections feel like bliss!
One day more!

[Hillary Clinton]
The Feds exonerated me today.
Will American voters even listen?

[RAC]
One day more.

[Hillary & Huma]
Tomorrow America decides,
And then we’ll know if we have blown it!

[Donald Trump]
One more day left to campaign –

[Hillary & Huma]
I’m pretty sure we have a shot.

[Donald]
– One more day to be a jerkface –

[Hillary & Huma]
I was born for this career.

[Donald]
– On an international stage –

[Hillary]
And I swear I’m Presidential!

[Donald]
– This is going to be yuge!

[Evan McMullin]
One more day before the storm!

[Paul Ryan]
This is so embarrassing.

[Evan]
At the barricades of freedom!

[Paul]
Can this please be over soon?

[Evan]
We’ll save the country from disaster.

[Paul]
What am I going to do now?

[Evan]
Will you take your place with me?

[ALL]
The time is now, the day is here.

[RAC]
One day more!

[Third-Party Voters]
One day more till the election,
We will never be ashamed!
We watch an unfolding crisis;
The parties have themselves to blame!

[RAC]
One day more!

[Gary Johnson & Jill Stein]
Watch ’em run amuck,
Catch ’em as they fall,
Never know your luck
When there’s a free for all,
We may get a blip
We may get a bunch
You never know with voters
And their brains are mush !

[Political Commentators(2 Groups)]
[1:] One day till Trump’s people riot

[2:] Perhaps the GOP will split!

[1:] Everyone will be at odds

[2:] Everyone will be at odds

[1:] There’s the old way for the losing

[2:] It is going down in flames

[ALL]
Do you hear the ballot box ca-ching?

[Hillary]
My place is here, please vote for me!

[RAC]
One day more!

[Hillary & Huma]
The Feds exonerated me today.

[Donald]
One day left to campaign!

[Hillary & Huma]
Will the voters even listen?

[Evan (overlapping)]
#NeverTrump and #NeverClinton!
We will not give up the fight;
We’ll be sure to cause an upset,
It won’t be over tomorrow night.

[RAC]
One day more!

[Hillary & Huma]
I was born to this career.

[Donald]
I can’t wait to be the Big Boss!

[Hillary & Huma]
And I swear I’m Presidential!

[Third Party Voters (overlapping)]
One more day till the election;
Will we finally be heard?
Couldn’t vote for Trump or Clinton

[Jill & Gary (overlapping)]
Watch ’em run amok
Catch ’em as they fall
Never know your luck
When there’s a free-for-all!

[RAC]
Tomorrow night we’ll finally know
Which way our country’s fall will go

[ALL]
Tomorrow we’ll discover
What our God in Heaven has in store!
One more dawn
One more day
One day more!

Mercy!

Mercy!

I’ve just finished reading Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.  To give you an extremely brief introduction that really doesn’t do the book – or the man – justice, Stevenson is a lawyer who has dedicated his life to representing men and women on death row, people who were sentenced to very severe punishments as children, poor folks whose court-appointed counsel completely dropped the ball. This book centers on one particular case but also incorporates many other cases Stevenson has worked.

I don’t unreservedly commend to you all of Stevenson’s ideas, but I think the book is powerful and compelling. The most significant, eye-opening thing here is the histories. If you don’t know about these injustices, it’s easy to think they don’t happen. But when you learn about ways that justice has been miscarried and perverted, you start to appreciate that maybe there’s a lot you still don’t know. Maybe just because I am don’t know about something doesn’t indicate that it’s fictional. Knowing real stories about injustice should both soften our hearts toward one another and galvanize us to pursue justice through the law – to make the law an agent of true justice.

All that said, this quote is not about someone’s history – I don’t want to spoil  any of the stories for you. This is a powerful concept – the concept of where grace comes from between people.

[I want you to know I’m not spoiling any of the stories in this book by sharing this great quote with you. Read on without fear.]

Whenever things got really bad, and [my clients] were questioning the value of their lives, I would remind them that each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done. I told them that if someone tells a lie, that person is not just a liar. If you take something that doesn’t belong to you, you are not just a thief. Even if you kill someone, you’re not just a killer. I told myself that evening what I had been telling my clients for years. I am more than broken. In fact, there is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness, because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy. When you experience mercy, you learn things that are hard to learn otherwise. You see things you can’t otherwise see; you hear things you can’t otherwise hear. You begin to recognize the humanity that resides in each of us….

[…E]ven as we are caught in a web of hurt and brokenness, we’re also in a web of healing and mercy…. The power of just mercy is that it belongs to the undeserving. It’s when mercy is least expected that it is most potent – strong enough to break the cycle of victimization and victimhood, retribution and suffering.

This mercy to the undeserving that Stevenson is describing is a miniature of Gospel mercy. It’s no surprise, given the way he talks about it, that he is very aware of this fact, that he is a recipient of Gospel mercy himself. We who have been shown mercy are marked by mercy toward others – if we aren’t merciful toward others, we have a disconnect that may indicate that we haven’t received that mercy. And, as my pastor said in his sermon on Sunday morning, for believers, as recipients of such great big Gospel mercy, caring about justice and extending ourselves towards others in mercy are not optional hobbies. It is our business when injustice is done – not to take justice into our own hands, but to pursue justice as best we can through the system and to treat everyone, not just whichever victim we perceive more clearly, with mercy.

Being merciful must include seeing and respecting the personhood of every human (including ourselves) – which includes what Stevenson talks about above, refusing to identify a person solely with one act, or, taking it a step further, one characteristic. We must see the dignity in others and ourselves; brokenness and wickedness cannot completely shatter the imago Dei, the image of God stamped on each human being by our Creator.

Seeing people this way is a challenging thing for most of us, I think – perhaps it’s harder for me to think of myself that way, and harder for someone else to think of others that way. But as people who are solidly loved and whose eternity is guaranteed, we are free to pursue this way of seeing. “Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal” – no brokenness either. Our job is to bring that healing into the future.

This is not something I am proposing we adopt as some sort of legal policy; instead, I think it is supposed to be the defining characteristic of the way we as individual Christians as well as the church interact with other humans. If other folks think it sounds good too, that’s great, but the call is specifically on us. If we really are just beggars telling other beggars where we found bread and where they can too, this kind of mercy should be dripping off of us.

Just Say ‘No’ to Trump as President

Just Say ‘No’ to Trump as President

Last night’s debate was a freaking circus, and the clown was indubitably in center stage.

Donald Trump was clearly in peak condition. He was a jerk to the three lucky folks* who got to ask the questions. He was the King of Excuses. He was arrogant and annoying and awful. When he would go on and on about how smart and likable he is, how great he’s doing in the polls, my friend kept saying, “Oh my gosh, STOP. TALKING.” I wish he had.

We was at a debate-watching event hosted by the local Young Republicans…and Telemundo. So the whole anti-Telemundo rant he went on seemed especially absurd. But the whole thing was absurd, way more SNL segment or sitcom debate than real life, especially whenever Trump was on screen. Which was practically all the time. I get that that makes for great ratings, but this is the future of our country. The presidency is not a role for a comedian.

There are a lot of reasons I don’t want Trump to be President. Here are some of them.

Looking at Trump’s past, I see little reason to believe he is an honorable person. To quote Anglican priest Thomas McKenzie, “this is about his character.” (Read McKenzie’s article “This Isn’t Funny Anymore: Why I’m Voting Against Donald Trump” here.) People make decisions – and conduct themselves – out of who they are at heart. Character is relevant, especially when we’re considering someone’s candidacy for President. That role demands so much of a person, all the time. What is inside them will come out. What is inside Trump is bad news.

Now, if Trump were saying he’s put his past behind him, if he were saying he’s changed his mind or grown somehow, and if he were acting in a way that might suggest that. But the man doesn’t feel like he should apologize. Nor has he, according to him, ever. Even to God, at least in the last few years. The fact that he thinks that way – that he’s unfamiliar with being sorry – would be very comforting… if he were perfect. But he’s not, and that means he is incorrigible. Literally.  Three year olds are incorrigible. In case you hadn’t noticed, three year olds aren’t so great at being told things they don’t want to hear. They aren’t good at accepting advice. They are stubborn like proverbial donkeys. They use whatever resources they have at hand – teeth for biting,ˆ feet for kicking,˜ voice boxes for screaming bloody murder. Trump, he has bombast and money to throw around. Do you want an incorrigible man to be President?

There’s also the fact that the Christian life is one of repentance, and without repentance, sinners don’t have access to God. Trump doesn’t think he’s got anything to be sorry for, so why would he need someone to save him from his sins? I don’t have a problem with someone who isn’t a Christian running for President, but I do have a problem with someone claiming a religion they don’t really believe in to win votes. (This is an interesting article about this.)

With all the garbage things he’s said about non-white people, Muslims, and women, I think it’s not overstatement to say he’s a sexist xenophobe. I think that is a extremely big deal. He treats women like we should be pretty wall hangings or fun playthings, rather than recognizing us as actual human beings with minds and hearts and personalities and capabilities (this article gives some examples in its fourth point, but I’m sure you can think of plenty yourself – including the dismissive, insulting way he treated Maria Celeste last night). His insistence that illegal immigrants are the dregs of humanity, and that “the Mexican government is forcing their most unwanted people into the US. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc.,” a claim which is factually untrue (see this Washington Post article from last summer) suggest a bias that defies reality. The same can be said about that awful post he retweeted last year full of false crime stats. Trump is doing what so many have done, which somehow seems to gain some popular support every time – playing to our fears by making everything about “us vs. them,” making the “them” out to be some specific group, which by necessity has to be a minority group. The “outsiders” are to blame for our problems: illegal immigrants are stealing our jobs; black people are killing “us” (because “us” is just white people?? what??). This way of thinking is disastrous. And as you may recall, a certain infamous regime in the last century used the same tactic, blaming their Jewish citizens for their economic problems. We all know the evil that came from that.

Trump also has a disturbing tendency to throw money at all problems, especially people problems. He buys influence. He buys friends. Heck, he bought the Clintons’ attendance at his wedding. That’s really concerning to me. I don’t want America to be a place where you have to bribe people to get what you want. (I do think it’s cool that he is self-funding his campaign. But that is such a minor thing compared to all these bigger issues.) Money talks, sure, but our country is designed to give great weight to ideals and principles, like freedom, justice, and the equality of all people.

And then there’s the whole international relations thing. I could go on and on about his arrogance, his self-serving approach to life, his bluster. Trump’s foreign policy goes like this: make Mexico build a wall, and “I’m gonna get along great with all those people.” I mean, really?? I think President Obama crossed a line when he bowed to foreign dignitaries – America was founded on the principle that nobody should bow to anybody – but Trump will go so hard going the other way. We expect him to advocate for women’s rights in Iran? We expect him to negotiate with Putin in a way that doesn’t start Cold War II or bomb the heck out of Russia? I don’t want Trump speaking for my party, let alone my nation. And he would be our face everywhere.

Super Tuesday is coming, and if you’re voting in the Republican primary, please vote for someone else. President Trump would be a huge disaster. Do your part to make that not happen.


*That was sarcasm. At this point I think that job is more burden than privilege.
ˆIf you’re dealing with this in your child, let me recommend Teeth Are Not for Biting.
˜There’s also the excellent Feet Are Not for Kicking, if your three year old is up to that.