The giant whooshing sound you’re hearing is the collective sigh of relief of 250-million Americans; the long torturous process by which we have elected and then litigated the selection of the president is over.
The Supreme Court declared that any further recount would be unconstitutional, and Vice President Gore withdrew from the campaign.
We can be grateful as a nation that the contest this election produced, and the seemingly endless court hearings, could be handled within the constitutional framework — and that the Supreme Court had the courage to deal with this issue and bring it to a successful resolution. In other nations there might have been troops in the streets. Thank God that the American system worked.
The dark cloud that hung over the nation the past month had at least had one silver lining: What happened in the Florida Supreme Court, which twice outrageously usurped legislative authority, has awakened us to what has been a growing crisis in the American political system. Activist judges have been eroding the legislative authority for the past three decades.
This is something I have written about extensively. Up until now, this issue has only been debated by scholars. But now, the whole country can see what happens when courts overstep their bounds. And out of this ordeal will come, I pray, a resolution to curb the activist judiciary and to bring back the right relationship between the three branches of government.
But what about the future? Now that this turmoil is over, we all have to work together in order to bring this country together — to heal the wounds of this nation. It would be very easy for the losers to become bitter — and very easy for the victors to start crowing or become vindictive toward those who dragged out the process and brought the legions of lawyers into it. But there is enough blame for both sides, and further incrimination would only damage the country.
The important thing now for all of us, especially Christians, is to work to heal this nation of the wounds that arose as a result of this trauma — to bring the country back together. And for Christians there is a clear scriptural mandate: We are to honor the king, we are to pray for those in power so that we can live peaceable lives, and we are to obey those God has put in authority over us in order to preserve order and to do justice.
It’s vital to the nation as well that we get behind the president. We cannot afford continued discord and dissention. Yes, there is relative peace in the world today, and yes, there is remarkable prosperity here at home. But we need to recognize that this remains a dangerous world. The fact is that we have only one president, and he has to have the moral authority to govern.
So let’s have no more talk — and I hope Jesse Jackson is listening — about demonstrations or about recounting votes to prove that Al Gore really won. The election is over. It’s like the Super Bowl game. Even if there were some bad calls from the referees; even if the winner wins by only one point; when the game is over, we accept the winner as the national champion.
The fact is that Americans ought to be on their knees thanking God that we live in a country where something so painful as this election controversy can take place without revolutions or violence. And let the world see how grateful we really are by the way we now come together as Americans.
For further reading:
“We Hold These Truths,” an ecumenical statement on ordered liberty, can be found under the “BreakPoint Background” channel of BreakPoint Online: