Issues & Insights

4 Ways To Keep The Election From Ruining Your Life

This article is excerpted, with permission, from the Acton Institute.

The 2020 election pitted a violent leftist movement against a crass, self-centered incumbent who uses the levers of power to benefit himself. The campaign hardly proved inspiring. It also ended up with results that confounded the professional political class and distressed tens of millions of Americans. Days after voters cast their ballots, the presidential race remained undecided, and a nasty legal and PR battle continues to play out.

For Christians, the temptation to become agitated, concerned, and outright fearful should be outweighed by our belief that God has already won. In reality, we must fight every day to keep from being overwhelmed with what we read, watch, and hear. It is with this reality in mind that we should take the following four actions to keep ourselves and those who rely on us in a positive state of mind and spirit:

  • Be charitable;
  • Take responsibility for our own conduct;
  • Remember that elections matter but are not permanent; and
  • Practice subsidiarity in our own lives

Charity is about more than being polite to people with whom we disagree. In the context of the election, it means to be loving. It means having a cup of coffee or a phone conversation with someone who ferociously disagrees with your politics and philosophy but with whom you desire to have a relationship, because our common humanity comes before our political differences. It may require keeping the relationship on an even keel and communication open while pressing someone about their position on a moral issue. And it definitely requires us to assume (unless proven otherwise) that people whose moral positions conflict with our own – who, for example, support abortion or who believe that America is an irredeemably racist nation – are acting out of ignorance instead of malice.

Our second post-election action is to take responsibility for our own conduct. Blaming Trump for dividing us is to give him power he does not have. If God cannot make us stop sinning because we have free will, Trump definitely cannot cause us to start sinning. Likewise, social media platforms are not responsible for how we act – we are. We choose to let social media keep us up late, act uncharitably, and post rashly. Trump and social media are no more to blame for what we do than alcohol is for intoxication, food I for gluttony, or cars are for speed-induced accidents.

Third, remember that elections matter, but they are not permanent. This is a variation on former Heritage Foundation President Ed Feulner’s maxim: “In Washington, there are no permanent victories or permanent defeats, just permanent battles.” Rest assured, we can survive the 2020 election.

Our fourth and final responsibility is to practice subsidiarity in our own lives. This Catholic principle takes on more than a governmental dimension in this context. It forces each of us to focus on keeping ourselves healthy, providing for our families, deepening our friendship, and performing our jobs well. It requires us to sign off of social media and the news to get enough sleep instead of worrying about the latest twist in the election. Our faith must be fed from the One source Who alone can sustain us.

Through these four principles – charity, responsibility, recognizing the temporal nature of politics, and subsidiarity – people of faith can overcome the despair and fear that is gripping so much of America. We can also influence those closest to us to uphold their responsibilities to themselves and to their loved ones, creating a widening spiral of positive change that does exponentially more good than our fear does.

America’s decline does not have to be permanent. This leads to one final responsibility: to maintain hope.

Dustin Siggins is CEO of Proven Media Solutions. A practicing Catholic, he was previously a political journalist covering the federal budget, abortion, and other issues on and off Capitol Hill.

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  • Dustin, good advice for anyone. I am not a religious person, although, I do believe in a higher power. I take your words seriously and will try to abide by them. Having peace of mind goes a long way in having a positive attitude. We need to be positive for ourselves and our President. Thank you.

  • “The 2020 election pitted a violent leftist movement against a crass, self-centered incumbent who uses the levers of power to benefit himself. The campaign hardly proved inspiring”

    I stopped reading after this part. Nobody who stipulates such things about President Trump right out of the gate deserves to be taken seriously. This is no more helpful a position than the goat rodeo at “the Lincoln Project” or the other “Never Trump” buffoons.

    • Brother John, I think you may be commenting to the wrong article. Either that, or something was deleted after your comment.

      • No, sir: I refer you to the comment of “Lawrence L” further down in this thread, in which he quotes the same passage I did.

  • It’s not the elections that ruin my life. It’s the Maoists that get elected, or who steal the elections, that ruin my life with their insane policies and edicts.

  • “ Remember that elections matter but are not permanent”

    Tell that to the people of Venezuela.

    God may not care who wins our presidential election, but he gave us free will, so those of us who do care will press on contesting this fraud.

  • “…a crass, self-centered incumbent who uses the levers of power to benefit himself.”

    Do you mean Trump benefits himself by foregoing an estimated $1B in lost revenues for his business over the past four years? Or perhaps in refusing to accept his $400K annual salary ($1.6M)? Your evidence-free assertion identifies you as wholly untrustworthy. Why would I credit the value of anything you have to say subsequently?

    You are most certainly not a Christian from whom anyone should take advice–if you are truly a Christian at all.

  • Thanks for these thoughts. Your admonitions about hope and charity bring to mind the words of St Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians (13:13), and especially the last bit: “So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

  • “Remember that elections matter but are not permanent”
    That used to be true but now that the Left has proven that the presidency can be stolen they will continue to do so and every other election, including the Georgia Senate seat in January.
    Once they have the White House, the Senate and the House of Rep. they will pack the Supreme Court, eliminate the filibuster, make Puerto Rico & DC states and have it ALL – complete control. There will never be an honest election again, just Democrat socialist rule.
    After a year, they will remove Joe and Marxist-Kamala will close out the final 3 years and run & win the next two elections, 12 years of Marxist reign with socialist, communists and fascists in control of the bureaucracies and it will continue on.
    Good bye America. I loved you so. We allowed the Left to steal our country and freedom right out from under us.
    Trump is planning a run in 2024. Why? He could not prevent the corruption of our election while in the highest office and winning even more votes! How will he do so while out of office?
    Our MSM is under one banner: Pravda.
    Welcome to the USSA.

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