I have no idea who will read this and no idea how it is received but tonight we find ourselves on the eve of yet another Presidential election. Ever since I was a little boy I became enthralled by the spectacle of national conventions and political elections culminating in election day. The first year I can recall was 1968, the crazy Chicago Democratic Convention and then the subsequent election of Richard Nixon. The first taste of bitter disappointment for me came in 1976 because despite my youthful inexperience I had come to respect President Gerald Ford. I thought he deserved and had earned a chance to be President by popular vote. It was not to be and we got a President Jimmy Carter. Now a married man and a father at the tender age of 23, I totally became invested in the candidacy of one Ronald Reagan. I could not help be inspired and motivated every time this man spoke. I became a volunteer for his campaign and was overwhelmed with excitement at his resounding victory over an incumbent President. And of course he won re-election when he defeated Walter Mondale 49 states to 1. When I was very active as a Jaycee, actually the newly elected President of the Louisiana Jaycees I met George Bush, I'm talking a handshaking photo suitable for framing meeting with the sitting VP and candidate for President. I told him I was from New Orleans and I welcomed him to the site of his nomination later that year. Needless to say I was thrilled when he defeated Dukakis. 1992 was the first shock to my political prowess when I just knew Bush would be re-elected. This Clinton fella did seem like a likeable and new kind of Democrat but I was confident. Of course I, like everybody else, greatly underestimated the independent candidacy of a guy named Ross Perot. Bush was out, Clinton in. I was devastated. 1996 offered a very boring choice with Bob Dole trying to unseat a popular incumbent Clinton and it was a predictable early night. But 2000 brought back some excitement and we have the never to be forgotten Bush/Gore election that never ended, until the Supreme Court stepped in. We actually had an electoral college winner who lost the popular vote. 2004 was exciting too because John Kerry waged a close battle against the incumbent Bush. The election of 2008, I believe, was over once a little known Barack Obama starting gaining steam. I actually admired the way he destroyed the anointed candidacy of Hilary Clinton. While I always respected and liked John McCain, even a political neophyte like me knew this was not even going to be close. And we repeated that drill again in 2012 when Mitt Romney challenged the otherwise popular if not controversial Obama. Yet in some way, sometimes big and sometimes small, all these elections inspired me, they motivated me, they forced me to confront the issues and whether in victory or defeat, they reinforced the great American experiment of the power of the vote and the wisdom of a representative republic.
And we arrive at the eve of 2016, Hilary Clinton v. Donald Trump. Let me be clear, I have voted and I did study issues and platforms. But let me be crystal clear, I find nothing awe inspiring, inspirational or motivating about either one of these candidates. In fact, I have found the whole 2016 campaign to be disappointing at best. Barring something incredibly unforeseen, we will have a President-elect tomorrow night or Wednesday morning. Like most other years, half the nation will be happy, half will be sad. Yet I wonder aloud tonight if that statement is even true. It's more like half the nation will breathe a sigh of relief while the other half will probably vow very loudly, and hopefully non-violently their staunch refusal to believe what happened. And I believe this to be true no matter who the victor will be. Sadly, I will not be surprised if the post election days and weeks are also a period of some discord and vitriolic accusation and counter accusation. My prediction for tomorrow night: I don't think it really matters. I do agree with the pundits that we could know early if the following states can be called say by 9 PM our time: Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Georgia; yes, I said Georgia. In the end, especially if the race is close, victory usually goes to the one with the better phone-bank operation, ground-game and a mobilized get out the vote machine. I would tell you who I think has advantage in all three but I'm guessing most people who read my blog would be disappointed. Just saying!
Since most of the time this blog is about faith and all the time my ministry is about the Church, the true Body of Christ, allow me to focus on what we should be doing and continue to do long after Tuesday, November the 8th. Tonight, be at peace and pray. Rest in the Lord, ask him to be your only true help and guide in this whole political fiasco. Consider a fast all day tomorrow, limiting self to the equivalent of only one full meal all day. Locally, attend St. Jane de Chantal parish all day Adoration with Benediction at 8 PM. Attend Mass on election day. Stay focused on prayer. And just don't vote that your candidate beat the other candidate, pray for all of them, where needed, pray for a change of heart, a return to God in our public squares and God-like policies that lifts everyone. Once the results are in, win with grace and lose with grace. Win with a Christ-like heart and lose with a Christ-like heart. Measure your words, whether you are pleased or distraught. Avoid criticism, especially in any public venue, especially social media. And for all of us who profess Christian, don't give in to a spirit of defeat. Even if your candidate loses, is not Christ still Lord and God the Father still on the throne? Is there anything about the eventual results that will prevent any one of us from praying, to not be a person of deep faith and unrelenting hope? Is there anything about tomorrow's election that says stop feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the lonely, the sick or the imprisoned? The short answer: absolutely not. And if we truly are a Pro-Life people, no matter what, fight for the life of the unborn, fight harder than ever if a Pro-Life candidate does not win. Advocate for natural and divine law as appropriate and no matter who wins, advocate for religious liberty and the rights of the Church to remain true to her beliefs. And as a Christian, look the part. Again, no matter who won or who lost, be joyful in your Christian witness. Always remember this, no matter how bad religious persecution continues to be, it was, at times, far worse in times past resulting often in martyrdom. And of course these martyrs and many others have been an inspiration to generations of Christians, not because they lived there faith when it was convenient but especially so when it was inconvenient.
So tonight, as I pray Oh God come to our aid, Lord make haste to help us, I do so with full confidence in Jesus my Lord and with full joy that He has given us a Church to carry on His mission, no matter what happens tomorrow. Go vote and then turn to Him who is our only one in whom we should put our trust and remember, our true citizenship is in a home that is yet to come, eternal happiness with God in Heaven.
May God continue to bless America and may America return to robustly blessing God!!!