Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The people have spoken

So, Obama is now the President-elect.

What the heck does that mean? Well, commonly "President-elect" refers to a person who has won the Presidency but has yet taken office & the current President is finishing out his/her term. Wikipedia explains this much better. "In the United States, the members of the U.S. Electoral College are elected by the people in November once every four years; in December, they are in session and in turn elect the President of the United States; finally, the President of the United States assumes office in January. One is officially the president-elect only after being chosen by the Electoral College, but unofficially the person chosen in the November general election is called the President-elect even before the Electoral College meets; more accurately he is the president-designate until the electoral college meets and votes."

I know, if you aren't familiar with American politics then the practice of an "Electoral College" seems very strange & a bit redundant. To be honest, it is. Even those who make politics a hobby are a bit confused as to the purpose. According to Wikipedia, "The Electoral College consists of the popularly elected representatives who formally select the President and Vice President of the United States; since 1964 the electoral college has had 538 electors." This will happen on Dec. 15 this year.

"Rather than directly voting for the President and Vice President, United States citizens cast votes for electors. Electors are technically free to vote for anyone eligible to be President, but in practice pledge to vote for specific candidates[2] and voters cast ballots for favored presidential and vice presidential candidates by voting for correspondingly pledged electors.[3] Most states allow voters to choose between statewide slates of electors pledged to vote for the presidential and vice presidential tickets of various parties; the ticket that receives the most votes statewide 'wins' all of the votes cast by electors from that state. U.S. presidential campaigns concentrate on winning the popular vote in a combination of states that choose a majority of the electors, rather than campaigning to win the most votes nationally."

"Each state has a number of electors equal to the number of its Senators and Representatives in the United States Congress." "Each elector casts one vote for President and one vote for Vice President. In order to be elected, a candidate must have a majority (since 1964, at least 270) of the electoral votes cast for that office. Should no candidate for President win a majority of the electoral votes, the choice is referred to the House of Representatives.[5] Should no candidate for Vice President possess a majority of the electoral votes, the choice is given to the Senate.[6]"

Here is some even more interesting information: "An example of the practical effect of the official status is found in the U.S. Constitution's provision that if the President-elect dies, then the Vice President-elect becomes president on Inauguration Day. That rule takes effect only after the meeting of the Electoral College. If the person unofficially called the President-elect dies before that meeting, then the Electoral College would have broad discretion to choose some other person."

So, how do I feel about the whole situation? I have mixed feelings. I'm disappointed but not surprised. I'm a bit concerned but excited & interested to see what the out come will be. Regardless, this is an exciting, historic moment in our country's history. No, I don't believe our country will cease to be a free country or will turn into some God-hating, Marxist nation because Obama has been chosen. I don't expect to agree with most of his decisions but he will probably not even try to implement many of his ideas just because of the controversies over many of them.

I expect that foreign policy & health care may be adjusted a bit. I doubt some issues will even be approached such as pro-life/pro-choice issues & gun control. I do hope he does something about environmental issues. That is one area that I actually agree with Democrats on & worry about Republican's stance.

Regardless of who I think should or should not be President, this is an exciting time in our country's history & I am grateful for being given the opportunity to experience it.

I hope McCain isn't too disappointed. His story is an amazing one. To go from being a POW for several years in Vietnam to almost becoming the President of the United States of America is is amazing.

As for Obama, I do not envy him. I cannot imagine the burden, stress, anxiety, doubt, fear, & excitement he must be feeling. Don't try to tell me he isn't experiencing any doubt. Anyone who has ever taken a job or any other responsibility always has doubt. "Am I really right for this? Have I made a mistake? Am I really ready for this? Will I be able to do what I promised? What if I make a mistake?" I'm sure all of these questions are running through his mind right now. I'm sure antacids are his best friend right now. Good luck, Mr. Obama.

Now, comes an important part of our job as Christians (if you are reading this & are a Christian, otherwise you may think this is a bunch of dribble & you can find something else to read, it won't hurt my feelings), prayer. Regardless of whether you voted for him or not, as a Christian we are called to respect those in authority over us & to pray for them & those who advise them. We should pray every day that he surrounds himself with wise counsel & considers their advice. We should also pray for the other politicians who actually wield more power than the President; Congress, Senate, the Supreme Court.

Before you start to complain about some politician, ask yourself if you have been doing your part, have you been praying for that man or woman? If you haven't, what else would expect? I am personally going to do better about this. I have a prayer list on my mirror in my bathroom so that I can see it as I get ready. Obama & the rest of our leaders have been added. I may not be able to list everyone of their names but God knows who needs what, He just asks me to pray for them. Trust me, I think I got the easiest part of the job. :)

For another great blog about this topic (also much shorter) see Linda Williams' blog entitled "And now we pray..." on her blog site Life as a Christian Woman.

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