The election is over and we all have to come to terms with what it might mean to have Barack Obama as our new President. I think there are many opportunities for us to speak up and speak out for the things we believe in and the things we'd like to see changed in Washington.
I have hope that our President-elect will try to live up to his promises and will really be open to the wisdom, advice, and input of experienced leaders. I also have hope that he can help to lessen the divide between Democrats and Republicans and help to re-unite Americans. I know these are lofty ideas and quite possibly nothing but wishful thinking, but I'm tired of being cynical and pessimistic about politics. I have to fight not to believe that every politician is crooked and in it just for themselves. I'd like to believe that there are some who are willing to do what's right for all of America, not just their own interests or pet projects.
What bothers me most about politics since the election, though, isn't the politicians. It's the people I'm hearing from who talk about being afraid. Afraid of what's going to happen to the country now, afraid the stock market will crash, afraid gay marriage and abortion are going to take over, and afraid that terrorists and influential rich people will be running things behind the scenes. (These are literally just a sampling of what I've heard. Who knew there was so much paranoia in the Republican party? Kinda scary.)
C'mon, people. Get a grip! The last 8 years haven't been good. At least not for any of the people I know. Everyone is struggling. Financially, emotionally, physically... the challenges are immense. But the sky is not falling! The world is not going to end! Jesus is probably not going to show up in the clouds this week just because Obama was elected President!
As President Boyd K. Packer said "The moral values upon which civilization itself must depend spiral downward at an ever-increasing pace. Nevertheless, I do not fear the future." He also quoted Isaiah who promised: “In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee” (Isa. 54:14). ("Do Not Fear" Liahona, May 2004, 77-80)
We know that we live in perilous times and that it will probably get worse before it gets better. But we don't need to fear! Now is not the time to bury our heads in the sand and pray that God saves us from everything that Barack Obama is going to do to us! It's time to get more involved and make sure that our representatives know that our values are important to us.
I am heartened by the response of Florida, Arizona and California in passing marriage amendments. This is a continuing trend and I am encouraged by the fact that a majority of people still believe in the value and importance of marriage as defined by God. I know that this battle will continue but we have a voice and we haven't lost the war!
Although I don't think there's much of a chance that we can get Roe v. Wade overturned, it's nice to know that a ban on partial birth abortion passed. I think that gives more strength to those of us who would believe that life is sacred even when that life is still in the womb.
We have the most incredible and perfect government in the world. We have a Constitution that was written by some of the most brilliant minds the world has known. We have checks and balances (sure, they sometimes get out of balance but we usually get things turned around!) We need to move forward with faith and believe that our country can be great again. Our economy can rebound, our morals can be strengthened, our defenses can be secured.
As President James E. Faust has said: "Let us not take counsel from our fears. May we remember always to be of good cheer, put our faith in God, and live worthy for Him to direct us." ("Be Not Afraid" Ensign, Oct 2002, 2-6)
2 Timothy 7: "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. "