The presidential election has come and gone like a bad storm. The forecasters had their day and proved as prone to imperfection as any meteorologist. The warnings and advisories were plentiful but raised all sorts of false expectations and ignored the fact that whichever way the winds blew; everyone was going to get wet. Inevitably, the front rolled in, did its work, and then rolled back out…leaving us to clean up the mess and make the best of what was left in its wake.

Some rolled up their sleeves and started setting things in order…removing debris and drying out the rafters. Others sulked and lamented the loss of things the way they were before the big winds hit. Some looked forward to rebuilding, while others complained that things would never be the same. In it all, the sun came up and then the sun went down in the same 24-hour cycle.

Unfortunately, the ones most negatively affected by the experience are the youthful, which are supposed to be full of enthusiasm and optimism. Some are disappointed because they realize their expectations of fresh beginnings were falsely placed in their passionate support of candidates more than twice their age who they believed could deliver on campaign promises. Those of us who have been around a while told them such is the nature of politics and those who run for office, but then there are always lessons that only take root through personal experience…despite well-worn words of wisdom.

“Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
–Matthew 9:17

The good news is that things are never as bad as they first look. Of course, neither are they as good as one hopes. Ultimately, whoever is in office must contend with the checks and balances of our system of government. Our democracy purposely limits the powers of any one branch and any one individual in order to maintain some equilibrium and stability. Unfortunately, it makes for some slow going and can stifle desired progress. The idea is to stimulate consensus and teamwork with leadership providing the lubricant. So, with a new administration, we’ll have to see how much grease can be brought to bear.

There’s no question but that we have been starving for effective leadership. The proof of that is in the current state of things. It seems well established that we have a divided populace. Anger and violence are on the rise, and those we count on to maintain public safety have been rendered less effective due to rabid conflict and controversy. So perhaps a dramatic change will shake some of the rust off and ultimately shock society out of the arrhythmia that has bogged down progress. And, maybe, the youth of our day will brush themselves off and realize nothing worthwhile comes without effort and perseverance.

“You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.”
–Ecclesiastes 11:9

Photo: Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group via AP