Kevin H: On Politics
I hate governmental politics.
I also hate the political entanglements that occur in the church or in business, or pretty much anywhere in life for that matter.
I very much dislike the lies and deceit and manipulations and power plays that are so often engrained in politics.
Politics leave a terrible distaste in my mouth.
Here are a few egregious examples that have occurred just over the past couple weeks in this “wonderful” (now, where is that sarcastic smilie?) election season.
As is well known by now, Supreme Court Justice Scalia passed away this past weekend.
While his passing inspired some very eloquent and compassionate words from both sides of the aisle, it also sparked some really ugly sentiment (warning – language).
Meanwhile, it only took hours after the announcement of his death for the political wrangling to begin as to who gets to appoint his successor. Now, my own personal longings would very much not like to see President Obama appoint a successor to Justice Scalia. However, I must agree with the thoughts published here. It looks like a big political game and fight is being set up to try to circumvent established rule and order.
Last week at the New Hampshire primary, we see Bernie Sanders with a landslide victory over Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side of the ticket. However, due to the way the rules are written, Hillary won pretty much the same amount of delegates as Bernie. The system is gamed to keep The Establishment in charge and away from the will of the people, of which our system and government is supposedly serving.
Just a week before that, we see the shenanigans on the Republican side of the ticket at the Iowa Caucus. The news comes out right after the vote that Ted Cruz’s campaign had been running with a spurious and unverified report on the day of the vote that Ben Carson was dropping out of the race. Yes, Cruz offered a half-hearted apology after the fact. But only after he had gained some potential votes in the state.
This is only a very small snapshot of examples.
The ones I picked were not meant to disparage or support any particular parties or candidates. They were just good illustrations for this exercise. If so desired, one could probably sit down and think through and research and create a list of thousands, if not tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of like cases. And that only dealing with national governmental politics. The same could be done in many areas of life.
Now, I also admit I could be missing some insight and nuance on some of these stories. Because of my great dislike, I only follow politics as much as I can stomach. And so I could be missing some angles here that others could speak to in a more informed manner. Nevertheless, I don’t think that changes the overall narrative that there is a lot of dirt and distortion in politics.
What is most dismaying to me in all of this is when I see Christians get caught up in the political squalor.
Whether it be the candidates and politicians themselves or just the many of us “average joes” who support specific parties or candidates and speak our own political opinions. At its base there is nothing wrong with a Christian being involved in politics or holding or speaking to their political opinions. In fact, for those of us who have the freedom to be a part of an electoral and governmental process, I believe it is a stewardship given to us by God. That is one of the main reasons why I try to stay at least somewhat informed of the news of the day. But when a Christian participates in the dishonesty and mischaracterization and unseemly behavior that is so often prevalent in politics, then there is a problem.
We have all been guilty of it. The demonization of the politician or the “other side” in general where we say more than we should. The misrepresentation or wrongful exaggeration of them and/or their arguments. The unjust attacks on their character.The willful blindness and intentional arrogance in not admitting the holes or weaknesses in our own candidates or arguments or to give credence when the “other side” has a good point. For those of us who completely avoid governmental politics, I am sure there are more than enough examples where these types of things happen in other areas of life where “politics” creep in.
By contrast, we also heard stories of redeeming value surrounding one of the news stories I already mentioned. It seems that Justices Scalia and Ginsburg were able to transcend the fray of political differences and formed a genuinely meaningful friendship. They recognized that there were things in life more important than differences in political ideology.
May we seek to learn from that example and may we seek to be forthright and God-honoring in our “political” dealings.