Gratitude, Politics, and Protesting

For 220 plus years in America, the peaceful transition of power has happened every four or eight years. Whether from the Federalist Party to the Anti-Federalists, or the Democratic Party to the Whigs, or the Republican to the Democratic Party, in the history of the world there has never been such a continuous succession of peaceful power. Wherever one stands in the current political environment, it is a thing to behold. It is also fascinating to behold the difference between those who were on the losing side eight years ago, and those on the losing side this time. Like everything (literally) in life, there are lessons here to teach our kids about the biblical view of reality.

As we all know now, the last election was unlike any we’ve seen before, and the result unexpected by almost everybody. President Trump (how many thought they would ever see those two words together) was told by his political challengers that he’d better accept the result of the election, which they knew he could never win. When the shocking truth hit them on the night of November 8, they also knew reality just couldn’t work this way. Since then they have gone to unprecedented lengths to try to delegitimize the election, and the coming Trump presidency. Thus they protest.

I’ve heard many commentators say that when conservatives lose, as they did to the most progressive president in American history in 2008, they don’t protest, but when liberals/progressives lose they protest. Even if conservatives do make their voices heard in the streets, as with the Tea Party movement some years ago, and the pro-life movement, such protests are respectful and peaceful. When liberals/progressive protest, they are often not peaceful at all. They tend to be vulgar and often violent. Why such a marked difference?

You have to go back to the French Revolution of the late 18th Century, and compare it to the American Revolution of the same time. The former attempted to overturn all tradition, especially the Christian religion, and ended up in a reign of terror. The revolutionaries were determined to remake the world, and death and destruction followed in their wake. By contrast, America’s Founders were committed to the Judeo-Christian and classical foundations of Western civilization. They understood human nature, and the limiting contours of reality, and built a representative Republic reflecting that.

Modern progressives/liberals are the offspring of the French Revolution. The word “progressive” tells you all you need to know. Progress is everything; history and tradition are to be escaped. Reality is a thing to be shaped and changed. The problem, of course, is that reality never cooperates, and when it doesn’t force must be used to make it so. That is why over 100 million people were killed in the 20th Century, all in the name of remaking reality. And this is why liberals/progressive protest: reality won’t cooperate! It often gets ugly.

What has all this to do with gratitude? God tells us that there is an order in creation that cannot be changed. We are to submit to it, and live within its parameters that we might be blessed, not attempt to transform it or make of it what we will. We can, and must, be grateful for God’s creation, and when things don’t exactly go the way we want, we give thanks and constructively go about working to change them, to make them more attuned to the way God created reality to work. We do not pull tantrums and shake our fists at the injustice of it all. The current political protests are an excellent object lesson to teach our kids the power of a Christian worldview, and why we, unlike these protesters, always give thanks.