politics is no longer important – the critical issue in D.C. is character

May integrity and uprightness protect me,
    because my hope, Lord, is in you. – Psalm 25:21

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Derek Maul writes from North Carolina

One of the primary ways I manage to write inspirationally is to keep my heart open to be inspired myself. Reading scripture; listening to life; paying attention to the beauty that surrounds me; listening to music; listening to Rebekah’s messages; reading books, meditations, devotions, and more.

This morning I perused the WFPC “Leaflets” – the weekly newsletter our church circulates every Friday. In it my friend Ray had written this week’s “Officer’s Column,” and he was reflecting on the dynamic, nonstop, irrepressible sense of life that defines our faith community.

Ray mentioned – with enthusiasm – this year’s confirmation class, drawing an important line of connection between the principles, ideals, and vision that gave birth to America, and the critically important work WFPC is doing with children, youth, and families. Here’s a segment from Ray’s letter:

200 years ago the Founding Fathers had this group in mind when they determined the future of the U.S. was dependent on “virtuous people,” describing character and service. In fact, Ben Franklin wrote that nothing is more important than to train youth in wisdom and virtue and added, “…talents for the education of youth are the gift of God…” The Founding Fathers would be pleased with the advisors, mentors and teachers of the Confirmation Class. (WFPC elder Ray Evans)

I’ll write more on the confirmation process after these young people make their public commitment to follow Jesus this Sunday. But this morning I’m thinking about the fact that “the future of this great country is dependent on virtuous people.”

Virtue:

I’m all for the separation of church and state, and I believe America needs to be governed by people of all perspectives and persuasions when it comes to faith, but there is absolutely no substitute for virtue, and character, and integrity, and honesty, and trustworthiness, and incorruptibility… and – to use an extraordinarily powerful word that doesn’t get much mileage nowadays – uprightness.

Uprightness, America! That’s what we need to be talking about.

Let’s not use a litmus test based on political leanings, or social standing, or denominational affiliation, or race, or ethnic background, or “what will you do for me once you’re in power?” Instead, let’s dig a deep moat around the U.S. Capitol and White House, and only let people in via a door marked “Uprightness.”

Granted, politics has been fraught with hypocrisy and corruption and graft and immorality and more since – and including – the Founders back in 1776. But that doesn’t mean we have to like it, or excuse it, or stand for it today!

In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. – Titus 2:7-8

Pardon me for sounding idealistic. But isn’t it about time we were? And in’t it past time to place the future of our nation in the hands of women and men who are rooted in virtue, practiced in integrity, and committed to moral uprightness?

I believe it’s a question we must pay attention to – DEREK

why “normal” is meaningless and “moderate” means everything…

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Warning: this is an unedited stream of consciousness post – there are many loose ends

So I’m sure we’ve all noticed it’s a little damp today… and yesterday… and the day before that… and the day before that too. We needed the rain, I know, but this is another classic case of “enough already!”

The shift from drought to plenty has made me think about the extremes we run into every day. We say we want “normalcy” but I understand statistics well enough to know that what we describe as “normal” (and consequently expect) doesn’t really exist – it’s typically little more than the average middle point between extremes:

  • An erratic golfer could post nine eagles and nine double-bogies on a round. Par on any given hole is then the most predicable outcome but also the least likely.
  • For April 24, Wake Forest’s normal high temperature is in the low 70’s. But in 1960 it reached 93, and the low stands at 31 (1986). Yesterday it rained all day with a high of 57.

The average annual temperature here is a close to perfect 62.65-degrees, so why would we ever need heat or air-conditioning? But of course we run one or the other every single month.

Moderate is better than average:

IMG_9233The point of heating and air-conditioning is moderation. We can’t really live with average, what we want is moderation. We want to moderate the temperatures because that’s how we’re more comfortable. And we’re all fine with having to pay for that level of comfort.

  • We’ll pay to moderate temperature (our new HVAC system is a great example);
  • we’ll pay to moderate our water supply (storage in reservoirs to hedge against drought);
  • We understand we need both rain and sunshine for plants to grow;
  • we happily pay into retirement and social security plans to moderate income so we’re not destitute when we turn 70;
  • and we pay to moderate risk when we drive (rather than save a few dollars a month and then be on the hook for tens of thousands in an auto accident)….

Yet we seem unable or unwilling to pay anything at all when it comes to moderating our political climate?

Most Americans want moderate leadership, where politicians are willing to compromise for the benefit of the nation. But being politically active tends to force candidates to highlight their differences, and people with extreme views are more likely to vote. In consequence, we are governed by men and women who feel obligated to play to their politically active base and the country is held hostage to polarization, even though 90% of us don’t want it.

Nobody is always right!

IMG_9234So why won’t we compromise? Why aren’t we willing to pay (and by “pay” I mean balance, cooperate, trade-off, give and take, quid pro quo) in order to guarantee a tolerable “normal” for everyone in America?

Take medical care, for example. I’m very healthy, and over the past thirty-five years my insurance company has made literally tens of thousands in profits because all my body parts are still working fairly well; I understand that’s extreme – it makes me an outlier. At the other end is someone who has gone through several major surgeries, struggles to stay healthy, and also deals with a chronic disease. They are another outlier – someone who fiscally puts medical insurance profits in the hole.

Do I begrudge the medically challenged individual the money I could have saved if I wasn’t in the program? Not at all; not if I am intelligent! Resentment would be ludicrous. There is no moderation without the extremes; and there is no normal without people on the statistical margins.

When it comes to medical cost, the average American simply does not exist. This is why the only way to provide any kind of moderation for any one of us is to put one hundred percent of our population in the same risk pool. The alternative is much the same as removing the new HVAC system from my house and hoping we’ll be comfortable. But we wouldn’t be comfortable for a minute; we’d be anxious, stressed, irritable, immoderate, and unproductive probably 90% of the time.

Unwillingness to compromise isn’t just impractical, it’s un-American:

  • Our amazing Constitution wasn’t framed because people stood their ground! No, it was perfected via epic compromise.
  • This nation hasn’t endured because those who were so right refused to give an inch! Not on your life, it has endured because those who are smart have understood how arrogant, unsound, incorrect, imprecise, and mistaken we are when we insist everyone else is wrong.

Okay, so I watched it rain for three days, then these eight hundred words spilled out!

Bloggers! They’re so wordy! What are you going to do?

(everything is saturated around here)

the rock paper scissors of good government

[David] charged Solomon his son, saying, “I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man. Keep the charge of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn… 1 kings 2:1-3

  • Walk in His ways; keep His statues, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the law….

hungry-history-cooking-for-the-commander-in-chief-20th-century-white-house-chefs-istock_000004638435medium-eOver the past three weeks I’ve been doing a lot of observing. It’s really one of the primary responsibilities of writing, and of journalism across the board. Unfortunately, with our contemporary 24/7 news cycle, there’s seldom enough time for the in depth rumination that must accompany observation if we’re going to be anything other than reactive. Or, worse, pre-conclusive.

Take too long to file a story, share an opinion, post a blog… and the moment will have passed. In consequence the articles that get read, and shared, and high in the rankings, are seldom those that are so well thought out or well considered.

So here we are, three weeks into this new presidency, and thus far I haven’t posted much about it at all. The truth is, by the time I think I may have something useful to share, the nation has already moved on. There’s always something new, that distracts us – and maybe that’s the point, maybe we’re being kept off balance by design?

However, rather than chase down that rabbit hole, I want to point out some good news that has taken all twenty-one days to begin to kick in. It is – I believe – one of the most carefully calibrated elements of genius in the United States Constitution; downloadI’m talking about the checks and balances; or – as I like to call it – the Rock Paper Scissors of good government.

The Rock Paper Scissors of good government.

  • Congress legislates – the President can veto legislation – Congress can overturn a veto by two-thirds majority;
  • The Supreme Court can rule legislation unconstitutional – Congress (and The States) can amend the constitution;
  • Presidents appoint justices – The People elect presidents – Congress can impeach Presidents – The People can elect a new Congress;
  • Presidents can bypass Congress via the issue of Executive Orders – Judges can stay Executive orders – Presidents can work with Congress to make those orders into law;
  • Paper covers rock – scissors cut paper – rock breaks scissors….

c2xnrzpxeaeylscMy biggest concern right now is when I observe our President systematically undermining legitimate institutions, in a petulant response to being disagreed with or not getting his own way.

The Fourth Estate: Journalism has played an important questioning role as The Fourth Estate ** for the entire history of our democracy, but that fourth estate is under a constant attack, and that is dangerous for a free society. Of course, journalism is not above reproach, but the professional standards represented and practiced in U.S. journalism are unequaled in the world. (** In the United States, the media is often called the fourth branch of government – or “fourth estate” because it monitors the political process in order to ensure political players don’t abuse the democratic process.)

trump_tweet_on_judge-copy_1486334691494-jpg_8924272_ver1-0_1280_720The judiciary: Mr. Trump’s suggestion that the definition of “getting the Constitution right” is to agree with him is worrisome; his attempt to influence the decision of judges by berating them personally and publicly smacks of bullying; his appeal to the public to “blame” certain judges if there is a terrorist attack is troubling in a Burn the Reichstag sense of troubling…

There are three branches of government, Mr. President, and they are co-equal. Rock; paper; scissors.

Fact is, most of us are wrong much of the time (yours truly included), and that is why our constitutional republic is designed as a community experience of governance. Every last one of us needs checks, balances, accountability, and a community of others who are co-equal yet wired differently.

Fact is, most of us are wrong much of the time, and that is why our constitutional republic is designed as a community experience of governance.

That’s my observation. After three weeks of the Trump administration I pray hard that our president will learn to value the beautiful and nuanced symmetry of our amazing, complimentary, unprecedented, widely coveted, and balanced form of government.

Rock. Paper. Scissors. It’s all good – DEREK

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notes from a concerned citizen – just another immigrant

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image from the Ellis Island web page

This morning my thoughts keep circling back to that marvelous day in 1985 – it was February 15 – when I became a citizen of the United States of America. In just a couple of weeks I will be thirty-three years old!

Interestingly, it wasn’t that ceremony in the old Federal Courthouse on Palafox Street in Pensacola that made me an American. In a sense I already was one, and Judge Vinson’s signature simply confirmed what had already happened. Because citizenship is in many respects a spiritual experience.

Immigration is the process of getting here. Citizenship is an affair of the heart.

I believe – and I’m thinking very carefully about this – that the problem with the Trump administration’s posture is less one of substance than of tone. As a sovereign country we necessarily police our borders, and we have always carefully vetted those we allow to visit or to stay.

The problem with the Trump administration’s posture is less one of substance than of tone.

Much of what Trump has initiated this past week is – arguably – draconian, highhanded, overreaching, fear-based, discriminatory, pandering to his base, or just plain wrong; and those are discussions – arguments – worth having. But it’s the subtext, the tone, the emotional tenor that is most troubling.

It is as if the lamp held by Lady Liberty is no longer lifted so high, that the light has dimmed, or that it is partially shaded for many of the tempest-tossed.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” – Emma Lazarus

We are freedom’s bright light in this world! We have always had rules, and biases, and exclusions, and injustices, and we’ve behaved terribly sometimes, especially when we have been afraid (think Native Americans, Jim Crow, Japanese-American internment camps). But in the face of all that, the international profile of America and our leaders has always been one of welcome, haven, benevolence, generosity, and refuge.

This is what is on the line right now. Not the legalese but the emotional subtext. Donald Trump’s vision of America is out of step with the heart of the American witness to the world. And that not only threatens our security, it threatens our very identity.

This is what is on the line right now. Not the legalese but the emotional subtext.

A concerned citizen; just another immigrant – Derek Maul

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applause lines, and the good people of “already great” North Carolina

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“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” – (The U.S. Pledge of Allegiance, revised, 1954)

I’ve probably said this before, but I seriously love every opportunity I’m given to share my life and my passion via invitations to speak. Irrespective of the venue – keynoting a conference or retreat, sharing the message at a church, lunch or dinner speaker, leading a seminar or workshop, doing a radio interview, teaching a class – I always enjoy the unique exchange that happens when there’s a live audience in play.

img_7539Yesterday I drove round and beyond the south side of Raleigh (it was a beautiful drive) to speak at a “senior luncheon” that brings together retirees from several rural churches. The fellowship hall was full of good people, the food was wonderful, and the atmosphere was warm and inviting.

My topic was a mixture of “How I got to be an American” and “Why I love America.” Then, as I got to know the audience, and gauge their response, it became a little more, “How and why I have fallen in love with North Carolina.”

They were a very gracious audience, and surprised me with several outbursts of applause – which is always extremely gratifying to a speaker. And that nudged me toward what turned out to be the big applause line, a thought I hadn’t prepared ahead of time, but simply presented itself to me at the right moment.

“I want you to know I’m not being political,” I said (which I’m not sure was one hundred percent true!) – “but, having lived here now for three and a half years, I’ve got to say that nobody needs to make North Carolina great again – because you most undoubtedly already are!”

Like I said, BIG applause line, HUGE.

img_7532Of course I went on to say that there’s not a single one of us, let alone a state, that wouldn’t benefit from some improvement. Because we’re all moving forward, we’re all on a journey, we’re all better when we accept the proposition that we are works in progress, and that God hasn’t nearly finished with us yet.

But at the same time we need to celebrate the goodness, and the faithfulness, and the hard work of so many Americans, and to embrace the foundational understanding that we are a free people, and that our freedom necessarily involves commensurate responsibility.

They are so many good, fine, already-making-American-great folk out there, and it was a great privilege for me to be in a church hall that was full of them, and to share from my heart.

Our Common Heart:

I believe that all these restrictive and constrictive labels – “conservative,” “liberal,” “progressive,” “reactionary,” etc., labels so glibly applied to whole groups of people – say very little about our hearts, our dreams, and our common love for living life in freedom and joy.

Yesterday I hung out with good, freedom-loving, faith-filled people from rural North Carolina; this evening I’m going to be with a couple of hundred good, freedom-loving, faith-filled folk from Wake Forest; on another day I may be hanging with some good, freedom-loving, faith-filled social activists from the inner city.

img_7529The point is we are a great nation, filled with millions of people from a variety of disparate ideological frames of reference. But we all want more progress toward the realization of “Indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” and it doesn’t do any good to label any of us anything other than freedom-loving, faith-filled, and good.

So that’s what I learned yesterday lunch time, and it’s something I pray more of us learn… instead of constantly tearing one another apart.

In love, because of love, and in the truth of promise – DEREK

 

The inauguration is about America, not Donald Trump

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Image from 2017 Inauguration Heritage Festival

“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its saltiness, how will it become salty again? It’s good for nothing except to be thrown away and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on top of a lampstand, and it shines on all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:13-16

With a lot of talk, noise, and emotion surrounding this Friday’s inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, now is a good time to put a few solid truths in play.

First, while I confess I am not happy about the particular individual who will be sworn in this time around, the presidential inauguration is about America, not Donald Trump; and the orderly, respectful, peaceful transition of power is more important than my misgivings.

In consequence, I strongly disagree with the decision of some lawmakers to boycott the ceremony. Rather than saying something constructive about the electoral process, their absence will undermine the very thing they purport to value. What sort of a message is it to constituents, when elected representatives thumb their noses at one of the defining moments of our constitutional republic?

Rather than saying something constructive about the electoral process, their absence will undermine the very thing they purport to value…

If we want better governance, then it is incumbent on those of us who care to do a better job of facilitating a well-informed electorate, and a better job of identifying and supporting well-qualified candidates who are above reproach. By and large, too few citizens of the United States have an adequate grasp of civics, demonstrate a working understanding of the balance between rights and responsibilities, or own a useful set of tools when it comes to making sound judgments regarding truth.

The absolute best defense against demagoguery (see definition) is an informed, morally sound, electorate. This means that our future depends not just on better information, but spiritual renewal too.

The absolute best defense against demagoguery is an informed, morally sound, electorate. This means that our future depends not just on better information, but spiritual renewal too.

  • (Demagoguery is an appeal to people that plays on their emotions and prejudices rather than on rational understanding. Demagoguery is a manipulative approach that appeals to the worst nature of people.)

The task ahead is a tall order, granted, but I remain optimistic for a number of reasons.

  1. Light always defeats darkness.
  2. Good is stronger than evil.
  3. Our calling to be salt and light, and to stand as “a city on a hill” reaches into the soul of this nation, and will not be ignored.
  4. It is The People who make America great, not the government.
  5. The U.S. Constitution is a simple, masterful, clear document with a heart that is consummately more enduring than the vagaries of either the electorate or the elected.
  6. I believe that the impetus of liberty and the momentum of freedom outweigh and outclass any momentary leaning toward cynicism and doubt.
  7. And – in a parting nod to President Obama – I absolutely believe in the audacity of hope.

The U.S. Constitution is a simple, masterful, clear document with a heart that is consummately more enduring than the vagaries of either the electorate or the elected.

Peace, blessings, hope, and promise – DEREK

respecting democracy – we are the U.S.A

rtx2t2gn1Being here in the hospital since early Wednesday morning, I’ve been in a kind of post-election vacuum. Not a bad thing, considering the level of angst and acrimony that still seems to be percolating in the national consciousness.

But it’s Saturday now, and we’re praying hard that Rebekah gets to go home today. It’s time I said something about the election results, about how we respond, and the inevitability of a Trump administration.

RESPECT:

So I’ll launch this post by lifting an excellent quote from my son’s Facebook page. Andrew, like many of his generation, enthusiastically endorsed Bernie Sanders, transferred his support to Hillary Clinton, and expressed serious misgivings about Donald Trump. That said, here’s his post:

This will be my only post on this topic, and although I may click the “like” button on posts that resonate with my political ideology, above all, I will respect the Office of the President of the United States, and will continue to do so no matter who occupies it. The polls were wrong. Democracy wins. The United States remains strong. Life goes on. God bless America.

“Democracy wins.” “God bless America.”

This is where we are; Donald Trump is president-elect; this is how the nation has chosen to proceed at this point. President Obama – a man I truly respect on so many levels – immediately said that, “we are now all rooting for [Trump’s] success in uniting and leading the country. The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy, and over the next few months we are going to show that to the world.”

The absolute best thing we can do at this point is to move forward in the fact of this result. We don’t have to agree with all of Trump’s ideas, it’s appropriate to be concerned about many of the things he’s said, and there certainly remains a lot of room for us to all work together to craft policies that make sense – that’s what Congress is all about. Not stalling and obstruction, but constructive give and take.

img_5999I have some deep and abiding concerns when it comes to how the next four years are going to play out. Fair enough. I aim to be part of the broader conversation, and I intend to influence how people think and how they act. It’s what I do. But, come the end of January, Donald Trump will be president, and – as the elected leader of the USA, that will make him my president too.

– DEREK

surgery day, part two

img_6126It’s an arresting view, here from the 6th floor of the Wake Med Hospital complex. We’re looking out to the northeast, in the general direction of Rolesville and then Wake Forest. I can see the undulations of the North Carolina Piedmont, thousands of trees beginning to change color, shimmering, luminescent, under the ever changing cloudscape of the November sky.

This really is a uniquely focused experience, cocooned in a room with expert medical care in the middle of a day where America is re-calibrating its future based on the extraordinary political events of November 8.

There’s a lot to be said for shelter from the cacophony of post election noise, the clamor, the angst, and the sudden screech to a halt of an electoral system that had become – by any measure – unhinged.

Here in the hospital the important concerns are not ideological so much as flesh and blood, life and death. It doesn’t matter what you think about Donald Trump, or Hillary Clinton when the PA announces, “Trauma alert! Incoming to the E.R. ETA  seven minutes…” or, “Code Blue! Radiology. Code Blue!”

img_6122Rebekah’s surgery went well, the doctors said, and word is that we are to be optimistic for a positive outcome. Dr. Suh was happy, so we’re pleased. But post op and recovery – of course – has varied from smooth to rough. It turns out your body doesn’t like being opened up and having your vertebrae rearranged. So, while surgery was apparently a success, it’s been a difficult day.

Regardless, life is a blessing and a gift. It’s my prayer that all Americans learn the truth of this, and move forward – together – from this point with the intention of gratitude, and a real celebration of all that we have to be thankful for as a free, and as a redeemed, people.

From, a room with a view – DEREK

 

Perspective – surgery will do that!

“for I am the Lord who heals you.” – Exodus 15:26

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Dr Suh explaining the plan

I understand that everyone is talking about the election today…. But I’m here at Wake Med waiting for Rebekah to get out of surgery. Consequently, we both have a helpful dose of perspective that it turns out may well benefit the rest of the world too.

My post-election comment is this – and it applies to everyone: Whatever you feel about the result, it helps to understand that people we love and respect voted for the president elect.

Whatever you feel about the result, it helps to understand that people we love and respect voted for the president elect.

As to the surgery, we are very thankful it’s happening, because the pain has been beyond overwhelming. Here’s the letter I sent out to a few people yesterday evening. I’ll update here, and on facebook, as soon as we know more.

DETAILS:

img_6114Some of you already know what’s going on (so I’m sorry if this is redundant), but some of you don’t. You can feel free to disseminate prayer requests and info if you would like to. Here are the facts as we have them.
Bottom line, Rebekah’s vertebrae are a mess! The pain has become completely debilitating, and she can hardly move. Therapy made it worse, the cortisone shot was an epic fail, and so surgery is now the only option.
  1. Surgery got under way at 7:30 am. We arrived at 5:30. It should last around three hours.
  2. It’s a fairly complex procedure that involves going in through the front of her neck, removing the problem disks (around C-6&7), freeing up the spinal cord, building a “cage”, replacing the disk with something this surgeon helped invent, attaching some kind of a plate, and doing other technical things I can’t find the words for.
  3. I’ll be at Wake Med most of the day today.
  4. If all goes well we anticipate Rebekah being released Thursday.

So, please pray for the surgeon, Dr. Suh, and pray that this surgery will relieve the intolerable pain. Rebekah wants nothing more than to return to being be fully engaged in ministry, to be completely immersed in the life of our church, to give everything she has to her work here, to enjoy the incredible privilege of beingn the pastor of such a vibrant faith community. We believe Wake Forest Presbyterian Church is not only remarkable, but poised for even more remarkable things, and that a healthy Rebekah is an important element of God’s plan.

Please look for more info in this blog during the day.

Love, peace, promise, and blessings – DEREK

10 one-liners to help America through this long, long day (it’s never too late!)

“My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.” – Gerald Ford

imagesOkay, America, let’s take a deep breath. It’s election day, and – no matter what happens – tomorrow morning (Wednesday) we will still wake up in the greatest country on the face of the earth!

In the certain eventuality that either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton becomes our president elect (I hate to be the one to break it to you, but it’s going to happen, one way or the other), there are a few things I’d like us to have parked in the front of our minds going forward.

A host of cogent thoughts has come to mind, but I’ll limit this post to the following ten:

  1. We may not know what the future holds, but we do know who holds the future. Love wins!
  2. The genius of the U.S. Constitution is not only still in play, but holds much greater significance than any temporary head of state.
  3. At the foundation of our democracy is trust in the electoral process, respect for those we disagree with, and the peaceful transition of power.
  4. The carefully calibrated balance between the three branches of government may be tedious at times, but it always steers us through.
  5. It’s important to remember that they’re called checks and balances – not bodychecks and personal fouls.
  6. If we really do value government of the people, by the people, for the people, then we the people need to become increasingly well versed in our knowledge, and ever more deliberate in our application of both our rights and our responsibilities.
  7. We are not only a forgiven people, we are also called to be generous, grace-filled, and forgiving.
  8. A house divided against itself cannot stand.
  9. Listening invariably solves more problems than yelling.
  10. There’s a lot that needs to be done over the next four years, so let’s get on with it!

The only way we can get anything done in a democracy is via listening, compromise, grace, and mutual respect: it turns out to be the only way forward.

HOPE!

united-states-elections-2016-reminder-dayBut I am completely hopeful, because I understand the character and the determination of these United States of America. We may not come out of this 2016 election unscathed (and that might not be a bad thing); but I do believe we can move forward from this point committed to a better, more inclusive, hope-filled future.

Peace, blessings, and promise – always – DEREK