Jackie Gingrich Cushman

With Romney pulling out of the Republican race, McCain has the task of coalescing the Republican Party in anticipation of the general election in November.  Clinton and Obama will continue courting voters with their respective rally cries: “Ready on day one!” or “Yes we can change!”

The final stage of primary season is a bit like Lent, a time for each political party to focus internally on its core principles in anticipation of the inevitable arrival of spring and, soon after, the general election.  While the primary process is the first hurdle in the race to the national election, it is the general election that ultimately determines who will become our country’s next president.

Once primaries are over, it is time to strengthen the party internally before the inevitable onslaught of the general election.   

Lent reminds each of us that we are to be humble.  That, instead of focusing on ourselves, we should focus on God and on how we can serve others. 

This humbling is in opposition to the state of hubris, exaggerated pride or self confidence, all too often prevalent in our society.

Hubris has been evident throughout this election cycle, among pundits who proved to be consistently incorrect in their predictions regarding who was going to win which primary or caucus, and among candidates who made grandiose predictions about winning that did not come true.

 “.. No one -- from Rush to Schwarzenegger to Ted Kennedy to Oprah -- has enough power to dictate an election,” commentator Glenn Beck wrote recently. “Nor should they. The founding fathers thought that might be a bad idea -- remember, they had already gotten their fill of the whole monarchy thing.”

Beck understands his important role in the political process, providing people with issues for them to focus on and work through. In the end, the American people will decide, through their action or inaction, who will lead our nation.   

Perhaps the presidential candidates will be reminded of this call to humility this Lenten season, remembering that the campaign -- in the end -- is not about them, their campaign staffs or their advisors, but about the American people. 

Let us also be humbled and reminded of our responsibility as citizens in our great nation.  A democracy is only as effective as its citizens are active.  Our job is to think through the issues, relying not on pundits’ statements and campaign slogans, but on our understanding of each candidate’s platform and policies. 

This is hard work, not for the weak nor weary.  But work that is worthwhile.

Let this period of Lent be one of introspection and reflection, allowing you to determine what is important to you, preparing you to take action to make it happen.

Rest, reflect and be humbled.  Lent will soon be over.  The activities of spring and the general election will soon be upon us. Make sure you are prepared to participate fully.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.