The election is over and the Democrats appear to have taken both the House of Representatives and the Senate along with the majority of governorships. Pundits last night and all day today have been remarking that this is a referendum on the president and on the war in Iraq. While I agree that both of these issues weighed heavily in the election, I believe that people voted out of their disgust at the overwhelming hypocrisy of the Republican Party. That leaves the following question: Will the Democrats be able to refrain from the same hypocrisy? While I voted along Democrat lines, I am not sure that they will.
The game is now on for the Democrats to set before the American people an agenda that is positive in nature for the entire nation. It is my hope, even if it is not my firm belief, that they will update our minimum wage, make strides in slowing the global climate change, move us toward sustainable energy and energy independence, and find some way for us to wade through the muck of Iraq. It is also my hope that they implement the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission and provide the necessary funding to safeguard our ports. In order for any of these goals to be accomplished, they will have to roll back the tax cut on the richest of us. Issues like health care costs and a just penal code should be addressed but not right away so that other more acute problems can be made manageable.
While none of these things is in and of itself a Christian or a progressive Christian issue, progressive Christians are - least this progressive Christian is - interested in being good stewards of the earth, offering fair wages for hard work (justice), making us as safe as possible without demonizing others, and providing for the weakest among us (the poor and the ill). We may find ourselves at odds on things like Gay marriage (personally I think that marriage is an issue for religious institutions and unions the province of the state), there is a healthy agenda before us on which we can make incredible strides. Most important of all, however, is the challenge before the Democrats to stay away from the lure of corruption. They need to heed the caution issued last night by the voters of this nation. We cannot stomach relentless corruption. Do not fall into the pockets of corporations and your own greed. Look at your agenda. Stick to your agenda.
Curious in the vote from last night was the evangelical defection. A full 1/3 (some sources report 1/4) of the evangelical vote went to the Democrats. This might be attributed to the social conservative stance of many of the Democratic candidates, but I believe it was a vote against the corruption rampant in the Republican party. The game is on, Democrats. What will you do? How will you lead? Conservatives and progressives alike are watching.
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