In Scene IV of Act I, Hamlet and his colleagues are struggling to understand what appears to be the dead King and father of Hamlet. It is an apparition that waves to Hamlet and seems to want to speak with him. Against the advice of his colleagues guarding the wall that evening, Hamlet goes to the apparition. Marcellus, a friend and guard, says what is obvious, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”
Democracy in the United States of America in 2016 is rotten. A neo-fascist movement is afoot in our country, rotting with sordid ideologies of misogyny and racism. It is one thing to have such citizens in a country as large as ours. It is another to have a major political party embrace a candidate for President who not only is unapologetic but stokes these ideologies like a scout stoking a bonfire.
Our history, however, is more than adequate to illustrate that these kinds of persons have been here for a very long time and—though the process has been sometimes too slow and an ordeal—we have overcome them. The way we overcome them is to speak up when the time demands that we speak. To remain silent is to be a conspirator with what is cheap and tawdry and sometimes wicked in us. You must speak with your vote. Too many have died and suffered to provide this right and privilege. Exercise your right to vote then and let us be on our way to exorcising ghosts and fiends.
There will never be a perfect candidate. We will always have to make choices that sift and sort through the flaws of people. Not to vote is a silk glove for tyranny’s fist. Christian citizenship is not about electing a Christian or a minister. Instead, it is about living honorably and doing our best to fulfill the promises and responsibilities of our constitution. After you vote, perhaps even as you vote, you might whisper to yourself Jesus’ teaching “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” You belong ultimately to the Kingdom of God. Live honorably in this moment and be assured that if the world is dishonorable, your destiny rests in the the nobility and honor of the Prince of Peace.
~See you Sunday