I am the greatest sinner among you. No, I'm serious. Oh, so rich in depravity am I. Weak and troubled, I fall upon God's mercies every morning. Understanding this about myself, I have closely inspected my righteous indignation swirling around this upcoming Presidential election.
Why now do I find myself armed with words ready to dissect each candidate? Why do I cringe with each soundbite and distract myself with nostalgic trips down memory lane? This isn't my first time at the rodeo. I have voted in some pretty important elections, but this time, I have truly railed against so many facets of this campaign and against candidates on both sides of the aisle.
This morning, I stood in front of my mirror thinking about the upcoming primary vote, and there it was. My answer.
For decades, our culture has twisted our most essential values, hyper-dramatized them and packaged them in a reality show. We have reduced the value of life and death to survival on a distant island. We have minimized the sacred commitment of marriage to a rose ceremony. We have diminished the sanctity of the family by living vicariously through a whole host of people who have sold their souls and worse still, their children's souls for the glittering pursuit of gold.
We have diminished the value of true friendship by reveling in all manner of programs that glorify backstabbers, shysters and scammers. Our entertainment industry has successfully played upon our "fascination with the abomination" for more than a generation, and we have happily consumed it like candy. We have winked and laughed with each other over the water cooler. We have raised our eyebrows, and we have turned the channels. At the very least, we have ignored it, and at the very most, we have been complicit.
So perhaps, it is just punishment that we wake up one day to find our race for the highest office in the land has become an episode of "The Apprentice." Debates playing out more like a reunion show of the "Real Housewives" franchise than a thoughtful, intelligent, civilized discussion of the beautiful experiment that is America. The hopes for our children's futures have been exchanged temporarily for personal attacks, profanity-laced interchanges, and childish arguments over appearance and hair styles.
And guess what, debate ratings for this cycle have soared. Try as we might, we just cannot look away.
When election time comes, I am going to exercise my right by casting a vote into the madness. I'm going to pull the lever with the same hopes of all those who have come before me: a better tomorrow. And that humbles me. It convicts me.
And frankly, it has forced me to take a look at my own reflection and wonder what part I have played in this chaos. It makes me aware that every decision we have made culturally has had dramatic, life changing consequences for our society's stability. Truth be told, we cannot demand a principled discourse from a culture that has long since abandoned a cultivation of principles.
So, maybe we will wake up. Or maybe we will not. Either way, I will be once again falling on God's good graces and asking that He heal our divided land.
Jennifer Christensen is a high school English teacher, frequent columnist and publisher of insecuritydigest.com. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.