In this unprecedented season of destructive political discourse, I got a face full of cold reality this past Sunday morning that I believe is worth sharing: Our assistant rector at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church began her sermon by announcing a daylong prayer vigil, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., on Election Day. A great idea.
Then she said this: “I’ve got a news bulletin for all you Hillary Clinton supporters: God loves Donald Trump and all the people who support him. (Long pause.) And for you Donald Trump supporters, the same thing: God loves Hillary and every one who intends to vote for her.”
I sat there with eyes glistening. If there’s anything lovable about either candidate, I cannot imagine what it is. But of course she was right. That’s why he’s God, and I’m not — and her words continue to ring in my head.
This spiral downward toward anarchy we’ve watched for nearly two years has distressed me to the point of real fear that we’re seeing the wheels come off our democracy. I don’t know whether there’s anything that can stop it, but I did recently hear another noteworthy observation: Perhaps the most important political speech we’ll hear may be the loser’s concession address.
Regardless of who it is, there will be an opportunity to graciously accept the election results, pledge cooperation with the winner, implore supporters to do the same and demonstrate a measure of statesmanlike courage this country desperately needs. To do so may well assure that person historic recognition for having helped save the union. Refusal to do it could leave the loser and all of us with blood on our hands.
I’m signing up for the prayer vigil.