NOTE TO AMERICA: Dear America; let me help you, you’re getting all confused. You’re not really like this. You’re not this partisan, this uptight, this angry, this petty. Turn off the television and go back to your normal, beautiful, every day lives. This has been a public service announcement from Derek Maul.
With U.S. voters still reeling from the escalated indignities perpetrated by this weekend’s political shenanigans, it is too easy to read the reports and begin to believe that this is who we are now as a nation.
Political operatives continue to act in accordance with the principle that, “if you throw enough mud (and, BTW, a lot of this is much nastier than mud), then eventually some of it will stick.” But also, especially for those who immerse themselves in the situation, the mud gets all over everyone, and then the lens through which we view the world around us gets muddy too, and it’s all you can see.
The truth is right in front of us
But, if there’s one thing our weekend experience in the hospital has confirmed, the real America – the one most of us live and work in day by day – isn’t muddy at all. Fact is it’s populated by caring, authentic, goodhearted people who could care less what you think about politics, about Donald Trump, or about Hillary Clinton.
The real America stopped by our house this morning with “Get Well” cards hand delivered by the children who made them. The real America gathered for worship at WFPC yesterday morning. The real America went into Raleigh to feed the hungry Sunday afternoon. The real America approaches its disagreements with love and compassion….
It looks to me like there are two Americas: the narrow, hyped-up, tiny percentage that grabs all the attention, the headlines, and the angst of social media; and then the one where over three hundred million people honestly care about one another and want to make things work.
So I believe the first thing we need to do is to wash the mud off – especially if it’s clouding our vision of everything else – and invest ourselves in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5).
Then we need to make a concerted effort to talk about the following: Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4), and we need to make sure we spend time in intentional community with people who live their lives as followers of the way of Jesus.
I’m not suggesting we absent ourselves from voting, or from civic life – not at all. But I am suggesting we turn our attention away from this false and damaging narrative, and offer a new story, one that we begin to tell and to live with such conviction and such a winsome wholesomeness that it drowns out the noise that’s coming from so much of the media we seem to be addicted to.
Live what we know to be true!
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.