Despite my great joy and relief at the outcome, there were two characteristics of this recent election cycle I still find most disturbing: 1) concerted efforts to disenfranchise the voters, and 2) insidious attempts to insert God into the political dialogue.
I am well aware that some voter fraud occurs during every election. However, beginning early in this election cycle and occurring across a broad swath of our country, Republican officials (mostly at the state level) have blatantly and shamelessly tried to disenfranchise large numbers of our citizenry. They have purged the voting rolls (Florida); restricted voting hours (Ohio and Florida); belatedly imposed IDs (Pennsylvania); threatened voters with billboards (Ohio); and disseminated misinformation about polling places and times (Arizona).
Disenfranchised? Could there be anything more ominous for our electorate? But when I opened my "Post-Gazette" on Sunday before the election, I was startled to see a full-page ad from none other than Billy Graham. Why is a preacher telling me how to vote? Why are people fussing about whether someone forgot to say "God" in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why are old white men trying to legislate the parameters and consequences of rape for young women, many of whom are black or Hispanic?
Our forefathers knew. Washington and Jefferson and Lincoln knew. Religion and government are a volatile mix, to be avoided at all costs. Jews in America turn out to vote at a much higher rate than any other group.
They know about church and state.