If the Democrats don't flub it, their winning majorities in both houses of Congress will result in one of the largest transferences of political power in recent history, and the White House could provide icing on the cake in 2008.
Or, it could become a short-lived blip and a return to stupidity as usual.
While the Democrats will receive much advice on how to avoid mistakes on the big-ticket items, such as Iraq, Katrina and health coverage, here are a few principles they should add to their list if they want to stay in office. Since the nation generally ignores the Ten Commandments, I suggest just three.
•1. Thou Must Not Drag Skunks Into The Living Room
In the 2004 election, the Republicans dragged same-sex marriages out of the closet and into the living rooms of America as a political strategy to reach certain kinds of Christians. Some misguided Blacks, for example, lost their minds and went running after same-sexers. They forgot about the Iraqi war deaths and the billions it drained from funding student tuition, health and housing.
This year, the Republicans didn't want to talk about gay things. But too bad. Out popped Florida Republican Mark Foley, the ex-head of the House's exploited children's committee, who was sending nasty e-mails to underage male congressional pages.
If that wasn't smelly enough, enter the Rev. Ted Haggard, leader of the National Association of Evangelicals, who helped make up the Republicans' Party of God. He was an architect of the gay-marriage ban that was on the Colorado ballot.
Only days before the election, stories swirled around about how Haggard, married and the father of five children, had been having sex with a male prostitute for three years.
•2. Thou Shall Not Snatch Up The Carpet
History provides many examples of how, as soon as African Americans work their way to the top, the rules change. There are high expectations that, for the first time in history, so many Black Democrats will chair powerful committees: John Conyers Jr. will chair Judiciary; Bennie Thompson, Homeland Security; Alcie Hastings, Intelligence; and Charles Rangel, the House Ways & Means.
Can't you imagine how certain folks in high places are shaking in their boots that these brave and honorable men, who have been faithful to the Black and poor, will have their hands on committees with oversight on FBI secrets, disaster area resource allocation and to what corporations have been stealing billions in no-bid contracts?
•3. Thou Shalt Not "Dis" God
Few high-ranking Democrats voiced concerns that God could not be pleased with the current affairs, and allowed the Republicans to pass themselves off as the moral voice of the universe.
The Democrats must make room for religions other than a tiny wing of extremist Christians, who offer the distractions of bedrooms instead of the boardrooms. Not only should progressive Black Christians find an open door at the White House, but also other faith traditions that contribute positively to American culture.
The Rev. Barbara Reynolds, the religion columnist for the NNPA, is an author and professor at the Howard University School of Communications and the Howard University School of Divinity.