Sic Semper Tyrranis

Thus always to tyrants.

For Americans who know their history this phrase has always held special meaning (even more so for Virginians). America was forged in response to tyranny and we are proud to stand against tyranny in the world (at least when it suits our own interests or goals).

But there are many kinds of tyranny. Not simply one person insisting on wielding absolute control over a group of people, though that’s how we commonly imagine it. Ideologies can be tyrranical as well. Ideas can grow and those who hold those ideas can begin to see them as not just their ideas or hopes or wishes but the wishes and hopes and ideas of everyone.

So this election has been posited – on both sides – as a definitive moment. A choice for this or that ideology. A choice that goes well beyond a person or a personality. An opportunity to – perhaps once and for all – alter our society in one direction or another.

I’m frankly relieved by the closeness of this election. I’m relieved that we still don’t have a firm idea of who won just yet. Because whoever that winner turns out to be should know they don’t have anything close to a mandate. They don’t have license to drive their ideological tyranny forwards at any cost. They have an opportunity, and the biggest opportunity is to somehow work towards reconciling the division in this country that expresses itself in red and blue voting options.

I pray whomever the winner and the loser are will be gracious and grateful and will work together rather than vowing to continue the fight for an ideological tyrant. It isn’t nearly that simple. Perhaps it shouldn’t be that simple, regardless of how convenient it might be.

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