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February 4, 2020

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Caucusgoers at Johnston Middle School filled out preference cards for their first-choice candidates.
(Photo by Pete Marovich for The New York Times)
A “systemwide disaster” delayed the results of the Iowa caucuses Monday. As of now, there are still no official results. via The New York Times
"For God is not a God of confusion but of peace." - 1 Corinthians 14:33
The Iowa caucuses, never a well-oiled machine in the best of times, ended in a complete meltdown on Monday night when caucus chairmen were unable to report results. Changes in the counting methods and in tabulation reporting requirements, issues with a new reporting App, and jammed phone lines all apparently contributed to the debacle. 

Like many of you, I am struggling not to be depressed by what Frank Bruni aptly described as “Iowa’s Unholy Mess.” The silver lining for critics of the caucuses (I’m among them) is that this will no doubt spell their end, or at least will end their status as first in the nation. But that silver lining is small comfort to the campaigns and volunteers who invested enormous time and treasure with no clear outcome, and it was a terrible way to kick off the 2020 Presidential Race.  

Trump and his cronies were quick to capitalize on the fiasco, as Trump gloated that “The Democrat caucus is an unmitigated disaster. Nothing works, just like they ran the country.” It gave conspiracy theorists plenty of fodder, as they accused party officials of delaying results they didn’t like. And it prompted enormous cynicism, precisely when we can least afford it. In a world where the Cynic-in-Chief’s favorite words are “hoax,” “rigged,” and “fake news,” the last thing we needed was to feed the beast. 

So what to do? The same thing we’ve been doing: Don’t. Give. Up. This is a bad beginning, but it’s only the beginning, and this too shall pass. Let us take a day off, then renew our vows to stay involved, to work hard for our candidates, to support the eventual nominee and most of all, to vote. 

Take a day off. After two weeks of a disappointing Impeachment Trial and yesterday’s debacle, we need to relight our fuses. Get off Twitter. Call a friend. Take a walk. The light will shine again. 
God of peace, comfort us amidst confusion and strengthen us for this long journey. Remind us that we will have good days and bad days and that the bad days will pass. Help us take care of ourselves and encourage each other. As you have so many times before, give us hope. Amen. 
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