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The suit feels a bit more snug than normal, and certainly much warmer.

He glances in the mirror;  feeling anxious, he fidgets with his tie to make sure that the knot is solid and perfect.  This is a moment which feels much bigger than himself.  He feels somewhat prepared for what is about to happen, and somehow a bit overwhelmed by the enormity and pageantry of it all.  A small bead of sweat forms on his forehead, which he quickly wipes away as he is summoned down the hall, following an eager man with a nervous laugh that looks no older than a child.

Standing backstage, he is once again reminded of the unspeakable burden of this moment.  Every man who has stood where his feet are now planted has felt the same.  He feels a strange bond to the men of yesterday;  as if he has somehow instantly identified with them, and knows them now in a way that most people never will.  He takes one last slow, deliberate breath as his name echoes through the room, and applause meets the announcement.

He squints at the harsh and unrelenting glow of the spotlights.  As he smiles effortlessly and waves, the light reflects faintly on his lapel pin;  a small, polished American flag.  Finding his spot behind his podium, he steadies his hands, reminds himself of his talking points, and gets ready for business.

This moment, before any word is spoken and any question is asked, is perhaps the most we will ever identify with this well-suited man.  

For it is here, in the trepidation and expectation of what is about to happen, we get a sense of the man’s humanity.  He feels nervousness like we might feel nervousness.  Regardless of his stances and his motives, there is no doubt that he feels a great responsibility in this moment.  We give politicians a lot of grief, and often rightfully so;  but in these last few weeks leading up to the election of the Leader of the Free World, I believe that these are all seeking and searching men facing things we can’t even begin to imagine.

We so effortlessly forget this.  We too readily fall into our party lines, and spurt out whatever argument we learned on Rush Limbaugh’s broadcast or Chris Matthews’ show.  We’re inundated with ads exploiting an out-of-context comment, or an embarrassing mistake from the past, every time we turn on the tv or listen to the radio.

It is true that the majority of these men offer us something less than what we deserve, and far less than what we need.  

But sadly, they aren’t the only ones who have failed.  Those of us who call ourselves Christians, are often guilty of being the most arrogant, disrespectful, ill-informed, and mean-spirited protestors during the political season.  We are the champions of forgetting that real people are affected by policy decisions and our obnoxious facebook posts.  We are the ones that often whore God out for our political opinions.

Let’s be better this political season. 

Over the next few weeks, let’s engage in spirited and opinionated debates.  Let’s raise issues and concerns, and speak with conviction and intelligence.  Let us remember that at the heart of every issue are human beings, not dollars or morality.  Let us disagree, and let us shake hands.

But above all, let us remember that these are men and not gods.  Let us pray for our friends and our foes;  our candidates and our opponents, for great responsibility and historic decisions lie ahead regardless of the electoral outcome.

And may we climb off our pedestals, and actually live out the compassion that we try to legislate and argue.  May our faith never be defined by Republican or Democrat;  but always by compassion, grace, and truth in our everyday, messy lives. 

Comment below and tell me; what are you praying for this political season?