So…President Trump? I find it hard to type the words, but if I had had a blog in 1980, I would have found it hard to type “President Reagan.” I don’t pretend to have begun, yet, to come to grips with last night’s disaster, but in this morning’s brief reflection–it has to be short because I have work to do today , I want to talk about some things that will help me. Maybe they will help you.
Whoever is having success at the national level begins to neglect the importance of politics and government at the state level. The other side of that same coin is that the people in the states get accustomed to shifting their attention to the other side of whatever initiative is being taken at the national level. For today, that means that the left edge of the politically possible in each state is going to start receiving more attention.
States shrug, it seems, and say, “Well then, I guess we’ll have to do it ourselves.” A great deal of good work at the state level is just about to begin. If it weren’t for the punniness of it, I would say we are just beginning an era of “states-manship.”
The expression “politics and government” is common in our language, but an appreciation of the different realities they point to is not so common. “Politics,” as it is normally thought of is the partisan contest for the offices where power can be exercised. “Government” is the process if identifying national needs and aspirations and collecting the will and the resources to meet them successfully. Politics is about collecting votes. Government is about keeping the country safe and the bridges in good repair. 
I don’t fill my days with TV watching and hand-wringing. There are things I have chosen to spend my time on. Out of force of habit, I call these things “my work,” and some of them “my ministry.” (Overlapping categories.) They matter immediately. The success or failure of these things is immediate; it is something I experience. In a few hours, some dear friends and I will be leading a Bible study class, for instance. Today, we will be considering the early failures of the Israelites after they were rescued from Egypt by a God they had only recently heard of.  They had been slaves for many generations and that turned out not to be the background that led easily to becoming a covenant people, a people who honored the God who chose them and freed them. Then, God willing, we will discuss what our own preparation to be free and responsible has been like. It is good work to have available on such a cataclysmic day and I will very probably work it harder than I would have otherwise.
And last (and briefly) I cannot imagine a better scenario leading to the victory speech of President-elect Elizabeth Warren. I don’t think she could have followed four years or eight years of Hillary’s presidency and I don’t know if she will be willing to run, but the ball has just been teed up perfectly for her and I like her very much.
 I am indebted to my brother Mark for having, many years ago, passed along a prayer he had found somewhere. The man has a mind like a vacuum cleaner. The prayer goes, “Thank you, God, for giving me work to do that is so important that it doesn’t matter very much whether I want to do it at the time.”
 The progressives of the late 1800s used to campaign against urban political machines and their use of contracts for friends by saying that there is no Democratic way or Republican way of paving the streets. (There are, of course, political donors who are Republicans and some who are Democrats.) This bridge needs to be fixed. The people who live there need for it to be fixed. That’s government.
 Pharoah said, “Who is this Yahweh that I should obey him?” Oddly, the Hebrew slaves said the same thing. Neither they nor the Pharoah had ever heard of this “YHWH.” When you face the prospect of a tough sell, remember Moses with compassion.