An Election Prayer: Too Late for America?

The other day I heard someone say that the choice in the U.S. election this week was between a corporate oligarchy and an absolute corporate oligarchy. And as I thought about how true that is (and I’m not saying which candidate is which, it really could go either way), and how democracy is really little more than plutocracy, I got to thinking about prayer.

Or perhaps it is better to say that I got to thinking about the lack of prayer.
Specifically, my failure to pray about this divisive and frightening election.
So, repenting of my lack of prayer, I offer this prayer.

Lord, I am sorry.

I am sorry that I haven’t had enough faith to pray.
I am sorry that I have been spiritually paralyzed in the face of it all.
And I am sorry that I have succumbed to voyeuristic fascination
in the place of real engagement.

But now, Lord, it is too late.

It is too late to pray for an election characterized by civility.
It is too late to pray for real debate about real issues.
It is too late for respect.

It is too late to pray that this election would be about justice.
It is too late to pray that the poorest of the poor
would be the focus of this election.
No, Lord, its all been about the “middle class.”
But even that has been window dressing at best
outright betrayal at worst.

It is too late to pray that this would be about democracy.
We knew from the beginning, Lord,
that democracy had given way to plutocracy.
We knew that it was all about the money;
whether it was the monied interests of the corporate class,
or the obscene boasting of the boorish rich.

It is too late to pray that this election would face the racism of America.
African Americans fill the prisons,
they are dying in the streets,
they are saying, “don’t shoot me,”
they are gasping, “I can’t breathe,”
but hardly a breath of debate,
hardly a word of hope,
hardly a whisper of recognition,
was heard in this election.

It is too late to pray for ecological courage and wisdom.
It is too late for a response to climate change.
It is too late to seek a path beyond fossil fuels.
It is too late for deep sustainability.
This wasn’t the election for courage or wisdom.

It is too late to pray that this election would be about compassion.
You see, Lord, compassion has given way to hate.
Generosity has evaporated in the heat of anger.
Hospitality has been eclipsed by fear.

I’m sorry Lord.
I just can’t bring myself to pray.

Not for civility.
Not for justice.
Not for democracy.
Not for racial healing.
Not for ecological courage.
Not for wisdom.
Not for compassion.
Not for generosity.
Not for hospitality.

It is too late to pray for any of this in this election.

So here’s my question, Lord.

Is it too late to pray for the United States?
Is it too late for America?

Brian Walsh
Brian is an activist theologian and the CRC Campus Minister at the University of Toronto. He engages issues of theology and culture, and has written a couple of books you might want to check out. His most recent offering is entitled Kicking at the Darkness: Bruce Cockburn and the Christian Imagination.

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