They will write books about this era, you know? One hundred years from now historians will write about 2016 and they will write,

 

It was the worst of times.

It was the worst of times.

 

We are presently in the worst of times. Enduring a hiccup of humanity, a dark hole of American history.

 

It is the worst of times with innocent black men being shot mercilessly in the streets by police officers.

 

It is the worst of times where transgenendered people cannot relieve themselves in public restrooms without fear of being harassed or arrested.

 

It is the worst of times with nonexistent gun control policies which makes getting shot in America as common as catching the flue.

 

It is the worst of times.

It is the worst of times.

 

At the close of the Constitutional Convention, the very birth of our nation, Benjamin Franklin was asked, “What have you given us- a Republic or a monarchy?” He responded, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

 

We haven’t done a good job at keeping it.

 

*

 

I asked my brother, “Why is Donald Trump the Republican candidate?

 

He has no political experience. He has confessed to sexually assaulting women; he has publically confessed to cheating on his taxes; the majority of the Republican party refuses to endorse him! Why is he a viable candidate for president?!

 

My brother responded, “Because we voted for him. He won the primaries. He’s the people’s choice.”

 

Hillary Clinton herself is no shining example of the upstanding moral and ethical character that Americans typically expect from the country’s executive. There are major holes in her campaign that Mr. Trump points out but we can’t take him seriously because he has a habit of ad hominem attack, the biggest no-no in argumentation.

 

Instead of saying, “How, Secretary Clinton do you propose to make college education free without raising the national debt?” Mr. Trump calls her “such a nasty woman.” As a woman, I am happy we have a female presidential candidate but my 15 years in the church gives me limitless anecdotal evidence that women too can be steeped in patriarchy and work hard to sustain systems of oppression. Women can be “good ol’ boys.” Secretary Clinton has not convinced me that she is not a good ol’ boy.

 

This is our political landscape: two candidates who make the typical voter ask, “Who is worse?”

 

In other words…It is the worst of times. It is the worst of times.

 

I believe we are witnessing the falling of an empire. America is on its way out. Every major empire in history from the first to the last has fallen. It all begins the same way:

 

Disturbance among the disgruntled citizens (ie the Charlotte Riots not too long ago)

Ineffective leadership (Clinton and Trump. Take your pick)

More money spent on security than on education (ask your neighborhood teacher how well s/he is getting paid)

 

Every historian will tell you that this is the beginning of the end.

 

It is the worst of times.

 

Because our Empire is falling.

 

Interestingly enough, Jesus lived during a time of a falling empire. Jesus’ ministry exploded when the Roman Empire was imploding and trying desperately hard to stabilize a faltering Republic.

 

Jesus has lived in the worst of times.

 

In fact he preached primarily to people who were dispossessed, discouraged, disgruntled with the Republic. He preached to people like us.

 

To the people collapsing under the statewide taxes, not unlike student loan debt he said,

 

Blessed are the poor for yours is the kingdom of God (Luke 6.20)

 

To those wanting to burn down their cities and riot because of all of the oppression against citizens of color Jesus said,

 

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God (Matthew 5.9)

 

And to all those who see the corruption in the political system Jesus said,

 

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled (Matthew 5.6)

 

And that’s the key. Jesus tells us when faced with disillusionment, and the destruction of a political system not to check out but to check in. Jesus tells us in his red letters that just because an empire is falling doesn’t mean that our work doesn’t matter. And to all my discouraged, disgruntled, disillusioned peers, I want to stress the fact that it matters. We have serious problems to face in this country, in this world and checking in is to ensure that our leader, whoever is elected (God help us all), will address the issues everyday people are facing like:

 

How mass incarceration is destroying communities of color.

And how peace in the nation means a national police training form.

And how peace abroad means caring about and responding to the Syrian civilians living in crisis.

And how affordable health care needs to be actually…like… affordable.

And how the education system needs reforming, everything from how much we pay public school teachers to how college educated Americans begin life on average $40,000 student loan debt.

 

What becomes of this nation, what becomes of this world, it matters.

 

Checking in means constantly advocating for a country where the lives of all citizens and immigrants, all God’s children are respected, honored, and valued. Checking in is to fight for a country where

 

Black lives matter.

Latino lives matter.

Muslim lives matter.

Homosexual lives matter.

Transgender lives matter.

 

All of us, who have been considered an “other” for so long, we matter. And because we matter, this election matters. We are the ones who will change this political system. We are the ones who will reform this country. And when historians write about us and the mark we left on the Republic, on American history they will say of us

 

It was the best of times.

It was the best of times.

 

So go

 

Vote.