by J. Charles Coughlin
Arizona is on the verge of a great decision, and I have been ruminating about its magnitude and its meaning. We are about to choose who will lead our State and the consequences are immense.
This decision has brought back a word for me: “Timshel.” It’s an ancient Hebrew word that means “Thou mayest.” Arizona may decide in this cycle to be virtuous by choosing the future instead of dwelling on the past. Conversely, the election denial wing of the Republican Party might prevail by embracing a false narrative of trash sold by a selfishly desperate man who only wishes to remain relevant.
I like many Republicans and former Republicans supported many of the policies of the last administration–but I never trusted the man to put our Country’s interest before his own. Ultimately, that is what brought him down. His complete lack of empathy and understanding during the coronavirus pandemic showed him for what he truly is – a narcissist who only cares about himself. His ultimate and complete betrayal of his loyal supporter, Vice-President Mike Pence, has clearly demonstrated to the world the former President’s total lack of character.
For my part I am comforted by the people who are in my life and are committed to our community — those who believe, as I do that, “we build on foundations we did not lay, we warm ourselves by fires we did not light, we sit in the shade of trees we did not plant, we drink from wells we did not dig, we profit from persons we did not know.” We are all so much more than our own self-interests.
I have known Karrin (Kunasek) Taylor Robson for over twenty years. I have known her father, the Honorable Carl Kunasek and her brother, the Honorable Andy Kunasek for close to forty years. I can say this about them all: they are community builders whose Christianity is not an adjective but a noun and a verb.
David Brooks once wrote, “In a society that is growing radically more secular every day, I’d say we have more to fear from political dogmatism than religious dogmatism. We have more to fear from those who let their politics determine their practices and who turned their religious communities into political armies. We have more to fear from people who look to politics as a substitute for faith.” I agree with Brooks.
Tim Keller wrote that, “The gospel shows us a savior who does extend authority over us, but who uses that authority and power to serve us, and who was willing to lose it and suffer to save us… When we allow our heart’s hope for justice to slide off Christ crucified and let it rest in some program, group or even our own efforts, we will become self-righteous and despondent.” Unfortunately, that is where much of the support for both political parties lays today – they trust in their own righteousness and power and forget to put their faith in our Creator.
It is ironic as well, given the evangelizing of many right-wing political advocates, to recognize the similarities between the crucifixion and our politics today. As theologian Barbara Brown Taylor noted, “Jesus was not brought down by atheism and anarchy, he was brought down by law and order allied with religion, which is always a deadly mix.”
Biblical justice, as Tim Keller noted, is characterized by radical generosity, universal equality, life-changing advocacy, and asymmetrical responsibility – all things I associate with the Kunasek family.
Let us hope and pray that we may choose right because as Niebuhr wrote, “Mans capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.” I hope and pray that our Democracy works – but I fear, given the way we elect our leaders, in partisan primaries, that we may be sorely disappointed.
If that does not happen, my own hope will remain, as Tom Schrader once wrote, “in the character of God, the promise of God and the sovereignty of God and the faithfulness of God.” It will be the undoubtable conclusion of this election cycle that we need to radically change the way we elect our leaders.
We must change the way we run our elections:
- Treat all voters and candidates equally. All voters and all candidates have a right to participate in all elections regardless of party affiliation.
- Create an even playing field that includes Independent and third-party candidates in all taxpayer-funded elections.
- All candidates must have the same signature requirements to get on the ballot
- Adopt an election system that encourages candidates to communicate with all voters with a focus on issues and stop communicating with minority segments of their own party.
The largest issue facing our country today is not immigration, climate change, education, or crime – none of those can be resolved unless we change the way we elect people.
The number one issue for us all should be changing our election system.
If you agree with that, please go to www.savedemocracyaz.com and sign up today. We need you on our team.