As we get ready to begin a new year, many people are writing out their new year’s resolutions. They will carefully think through how they want to change in the new year. As we close out 2021 and get ready to start 2022, I would like to suggest some new year’s resolutions for some of our government leaders and agencies. If they follow my advice, I think they – and the rest of us – will have a much better 2022.
For the CDC and Dr. Fauci: Improve Your COVID-19 Messaging
I will go ahead and out myself at this point as a person who has taken the COVID-19 pandemic seriously. We stayed in our house as long as the state of Alabama had a stay-at-home order. Our church met outside for several months and we wore our masks in public places while there was a mask mandate in place.
However, we have gotten to the point that the messaging about COVID-19 coming from the CDC, the President, and Dr. Fauci has gotten confusing. We hear that getting vaccines are the fastest way to get back to normal. Then, our leaders tell us that even if you have received the vaccine, you should still wear a mask in most situations and should avoid family gatherings at Christmas. This is getting confusing and frustrating for people who have tried to act in good faith to help their families and neighbors get through the pandemic.
The goal for the government has got to be–communicate clearly and simply about the pandemic. Offer a way forward to get us back to as normal a life as possible. Then, stick with that message until the data leads to a different conclusion.
For the Democratic Party: Realize that Your Mandate is Smaller than You Believe
Many spoke of President Biden as a possible new FDR when he entered office. President Biden won the Presidency by a comfortable margin, but nothing like FDR’s win over Herbert Hoover in 1932. Democrats own a majority in the Senate, but only because Vice President Harris can break a tie between the 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans. When FDR took the oath of office, Democrats held a 58-36 advantage in the Senate. President Biden entered office with Democrats holding a 222-211 majority in the House. The Democratic majority in 1933 was 311-117.
When Democrats complain about Joe Manchin “holding Democracy hostage,” they forget that they hold a slim majority. If they had FDR’s mandate, they wouldn’t have to worry about filibusters or holdout Senators. Holding a bare majority should instill the Democratic Party with a little humility. They should be willing to meet moderates in the middle and find a compromise for the sake of the American people. Stop attacking everyone who disagrees with the progressive agenda because that is currently at least half of the country.
For Former President Donald Trump: Stop Using Republican Primaries to Settle Scores
If you would have told me the extent to which Donald Trump would hold sway over the Republican Party in 2021 ten years ago, I would have recommended that you get a psychiatric evaluation. He has started interfering in Republican Primaries to punish even the slightest hint of offense against him.
For example, the Wall Street Journal reported that President Trump is angry with Alabama Governor Kay Ivey because he was not allowed to host a rally on the USS Alabama in Mobile over the 4th of July Weekend. According to AL.com, some of the USS Alabama Battleship Commission members believed that holding a political event on the World War II ship would violate Alabama law. Ivey is the honorary chairman of the commission, so Trump blamed her for the rally not taking place. Then, in November, Trump’s former Ambassador to Slovenia, Lynda Blanchard, dropped her U.S. Senate bid in Alabama and announced that she would be running for Governor instead. Many political observers in Alabama believe the two events are related.
President Trump believes that the Republican primaries are an opportunity to get his pound of flesh for sins against him, even if those perceived sins involved people who were duty-bound to follow the law. This will produce one of two outcomes – either the Republican party will become a glorified personality cult with very little commitment to core principles, or Trump’s messages will start to fall on deaf ears.
For Evangelical Christians: Remember Who You Are
There is no lack of writing about the relationship between Christianity and politics. There have been times where I agreed with those who said that Christians should divorce themselves from politics, but now I think that is not wise or biblical. Christians are called to live as engaged citizens in the kingdoms of this world. We need to engage in politics in ways that demonstrate godly wisdom and are faithful to the basics of the faith we hold dear.
In particular, Christians ought to recognize that we cannot forget the Bible’s teachings about how we treat other people simply because politics is involved. You can come up with all the seemingly sophisticated reasoning that you want, but there is no scenario in which American Christians can ignore Jesus’s command to love our enemies or the command to turn the other cheek. Just as we have been forgiven, we forgive those who wrong us. And we remember that pointing our fellow citizens to Jesus is infinitely more important than persuading them to vote for a candidate.
The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Christian Headlines.
Photo courtesy: Sara Cottle/Unsplash
Scott Slayton writes at “One Degree to Another.”