Inspired
by the
Baha’i Faith
The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith. The official website of the Baha'i Faith is: Bahai.org. The official website of the Baha'is of the United States can be found here: Bahai.us.
GOT IT
The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.
How do I become Baha’i?
Culture

How to Deal with the Post-Election Future

David Bowers | Dec 10, 2016

PART 1 IN SERIES Transcending Partisan Politics

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

Interested in Other Topics?

We’ve got something for everyone.
David Bowers | Dec 10, 2016

PART 1 IN SERIES Transcending Partisan Politics

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

The recent results of several national elections around the world have pleased many–and disturbed many, too. What will the future bring?

As the results of this election proved difficult to foresee, so its ultimate long-term effects are hard to predict, too. In the United States, we live in a deeply-divided, intensely polarized nation in uncharted territory, and the future has yet to be written. That situation has repeated itself in many other countries, as well. You may like the way your nation’s elections turned out, and in your celebrations, perhaps you don’t see what there is to fear—or you may be one of those who experience abject fear about the future in a very personal way. But no matter what the future holds, there’s no denying the uncertainty, fear and consternation some people are now experiencing.

So if you’re optimistic, then how should you comfort those who are afraid? If you’re pessimistic and fearful, what can you do to deal with those feelings?

The Baha’i teachings offer more than cautious optimism for those who suffer from such fears, though perhaps not in the way you might expect. Instead of urging you to work toward change in the next election in some way, or try to fight to maintain the status quo, the Baha’i teachings say that the solution to the nation’s and the world’s problems does not lie in partisan politics at all.

The Baha’i teachings explain that major change is coming—in fact, much more than we’re even thinking about today. Baha’u’llah wrote:

It is incumbent upon all the peoples of the world to reconcile their differences, and, with perfect unity and peace, abide beneath the shadow of the Tree of His care and loving-kindness. It behoveth them to cleave to whatsoever will, in this Day, be conducive to the exaltation of their stations, and to the promotion of their best interests…

Beseech ye the one true God to grant that all men may be graciously assisted to fulfil that which is acceptable in Our sight. Soon will the present-day order be rolled up, and a new one spread out in its stead. – Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, pp. 6-7.

Baha’is believe two global processes are now happening simultaneously: on one hand, the end of the old ways of doing things, and on the other hand, the creation of a new way. That new way, the Baha’i teachings say, will inevitably lead humanity to a unified global civilization:

Baha’u’llah declared the coming of the Most Great Peace. All the nations and peoples will come under the shadow of the Tent of the Great Peace and Harmony — that is to say, by general election a Great Board of Arbitration shall be established, to settle all differences and quarrels between the Powers; so that disputes shall not end in war. – Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha in London, pp. 29-30.

It sounds great, right? Despite partisan accusations, the people of America, regardless of which party they belong to, do not want to live in a state of war all the time. Almost everyone wants peace and prosperity, and those who want war for their own selfish reasons are in the extreme minority. The problem? Our current world system has no way of peacefully deterring conflict in every case; we rely heavily on treaties, international alliances and trade deals that are all too easily broken or ignored by small parties like failed states or terrorists that seek to gain some kind of ephemeral infamy from sowing disorder in the world.

watergateOf course, some people in the world view international peace and agreement as a kind of naive utopian vision—and this is one of the main obstacles standing in the way of achieving it. Many, if not most of the great achievements of the age we live in were once considered impossible flights of fancy: flight itself being only one of them. As far as international peace is concerned even the measure of peace we have now, thanks to struggling institutions like the UN and NATO, was scarcely even imagined before about 100 years ago. Even then it seemed quite impossible. Many people considered President Woodrow Wilson a fool to even propose his doomed-to-fail League of Nations.

But even as the nations of the world have been gradually developing peaceful ways of coexisting together, the roll-up of the present-day order has kept on going. The deterioration of the earth’s existing political systems is now becoming increasingly clear to all as each year goes by. As just one obvious example of this deterioration, trust in government has been steadily weakening over the decades ever since the Watergate scandal, and in this election it reached a climax.

It feels terrible not to trust one’s own government, especially since a majority of Americans who identify with a political party now view the opposing party as a threat to their own nation and sometimes even to the world. It’s not just that Americans no longer trust their government, now they no longer trust each other, either. That mistrust has broken out into an ugly form of estrangement, dividing us along racial, economic, and religious categories. All this is genuinely frightening to everyone, no matter which side of the political divide we fall on.

In the next essay in this series, we’ll consider the Baha’i solutions to that mistrust.

You May Also Like

Culture

Ethics, Morality and Breaking Bad

Culture

Natural Systems of Reward and Punishment

Culture

Looking for the Lord—at the Cinema


Comments

characters remaining
  • Emily Sheppard
    Dec 22, 2016
    -
    This was comforting. I'm seeing a great deal of maliciousness at present and I'm having a hard time believing it could be mended -.-
  • Rich Young
    Dec 10, 2016
    -
    Some people in a group are quick to bring up politics. Others are very cautious to talk about subjects which may be offensive to others. Everyone is interested in basic human issues such as kids, friendships, other relatives, local news, and sometimes sports and personal situations. It's not too hard to change the subject from politics to one of these other human interests. These issues transcend partisan politics.
  • Dec 10, 2016
    -
    This was a comforting article as the election results have been deeply disturbing for me.
x
x
Connect with Baha’is in your area
Welcome!
What's your name?
Thanks my friend ! We want to connect you with a Baha’i in your area, where would that be?
Thank you so much! How can they best reach you?
To put you in touch with a Baha’i in your area who can answer your questions, we would like to kindly ask for a few details about yourself.
Connect with Baha’is in your area
Connect with Baha’is in your area
Get in touch with the Baha’is in your community.