This fall's elections were indeed a political turning point. The Democrats who say their debacle was only a rejection of politics in general and whoever was in power are just wrong. It was a rejection of them, their president, and the old solutions with which they are identified.
It was also a rebellion against politics-as-usual and the system's inability to find real solutions to our problems-problems that seem to be growing out of control. The election results offer both a new opportunity and a real danger.
I traveled to 16 cities during the 30 days leading up to the election. I was on tour for The Soul of Politics, speaking to the need for a new political approach and a vision of spiritual and social transformation that goes beyond the old categories of Left and Right, liberal and conservative.
Never have I felt a deeper cynicism about politics. Images, symbols, sound-bites, spin doctors, money, and attack dominate the political landscape. People in every region of the country are sick of it. But what I also found was a palpable hunger for alternative political vision, values, and leadership. In local town-meetings and on call-in radio talk shows, I especially discovered a widespread longing for a politics with spiritual values that transcends our failed and now dysfunctional political options and presents a fundamental alternative to the Religious Right.
The response from widely diverse public audiences and media forums was deeply heartening. Religious and non-religious people alike expressed the need for a real vision of moral transformation. Pastors and lay leaders, teachers and community organizers, former gang leaders and mayors, young people, mothers, and fathers all came together seeking a new political morality.