From the reaction of friends, family, co-workers, and social media, much of America and the world woke up in shock at the results of our Presidential election. I freely admit, I was one of many who didn’t think Donald Trump had a snowball’s chance of winning the election. I’m not excited about his Presidency. I admit that I supported neither Trump nor Clinton. I honestly believe they are both pretty awful people, who if common citizens like the rest of us would both be serving lengthy prison terms.
With that said, Donald Trump did win, and in January the highest office in our nation will transition from the far left of the political spectrum to the far right. What’s most amazing about this reality is that such transition will happen peacefully. Oh sure, the nasty rhetoric will continue to go back and forth between the right and left—there’s no chance of that business dying down soon. But on 20 January 2017, there will be no inflammatory speech between President Obama and President-Elect Trump. They will shake hands and smile. Their wives will cry and hug each other. There will be pleasantries exchanged across both sides of the aisle. As part of the pomp, circumstance, and formality of the day we take for granted that there will be no fighting, no civil war, no military coup, no killing, and no violence.
That last part is pretty remarkable when you think about it. Many nations around the world do not transition power so easily. In fact, violence is a presupposition in many places desiring a change of government. A fellow pastor from Kenya—one of the more stable nations in Africa—sent an email to clergy in our small Lutheran denomination this morning reminding us all of just how significant this is. He wrote:
We congratulate you, America, for electing your 45th President and having a very peaceful election despite [a] very sharp contest. My people need to learn from that as we approach [a] similar election next year.
A peaceful transition of power after the dust settles from a vicious, vitriolic, emotionally-charged election cycle is an amazing thing. Indeed, that such transitions happen regularly is a testament to the greatness of our Republic.