Maybe it’s just me or maybe it is the media but the American political infrastructure looks to be falling apart at the seams. Now this is nothing new, political systems of more worth than our own collapse all the time, historically speaking. And for years I have struggled to understand how to engage the beast that is politics in America. I have found that ignorance is bliss, but it is not responsible. And subsequently, I have found that getting right into the fray of the American political war zone leads to a jaded, “us vs. them” complex. The two party system feels like two sides in an eastern European civil war, where the sides are indistinguishable to anyone outside of the fray yet the killing continues… Plus, each political part has issues and stances that make me cringe and promote what I see as an objectively antithetical to the Christian faith. So what can be done? Clearly, I have not figured it out, but there are a few things that should be said.
1. Look to history, not MSNBC (or Fox)
Rush, Keith Olbermann and plenty of other talking heads with bones to pick will try to convince you that the other party is trying to ruin the world and only the reasonable, logical good guys can solve the worlds problems and make American perfect (which is candidate A wins the election, that will happen). It’s really all quite silly. Our news comes to us from sources with agendas, every single one! Hell, I have an agenda. But to be truly informed it means looking beyond the fray and being honest. Honest that, even if you are a die-hard republican, there are some major flaws in your ideology. Might we remember that no democracy has lasted longer than 500 years, yet monarchies have flourished for thousands of years. I’m not going all anarchist here, I am just saying that by taking a simple look at history, we can probably predict our future. Many a time has a weak capitalism given way to fascism (a common saying among the Bolsheviks in the twenties and thirties) and many times have strong governments than ours collapsed and flourished. That doesn’t make them less or more. So to handle our politics we should have not only a knowledge of the bills on the floor of the House, but of the administrations that have influenced our very own. Might I recommend reading Plato’s Republic, the book of Judges and William Shirer’s Rise and Fall of the Third Reich to aid in this endeavor.
2. Don’t take it too seriously
It all is kind of silly really. From the Christian perspective, one day there will be an uncontested monarchy with a good King. And even from a “secular”(I hate that word) perspective governments come and governments go. So why do we let ourselves get worried into a frenzy concerning small issues of liberty and law? The Christian gets his liberty from elsewhere, the government has nothing to do with that. Rick Warren recently said that religious freedom is one of the most detrimental things to the church! Because it leads us to believe that our volition and purpose come from the government, not God. If there is this eternal awareness of the greatness of God and the smallness of government, why do we get so mad when somebody things medicine should (or shouldn’t) be socialized? Come on everybody, relax! Plus, it is pretty funny business, especially when politicians put their foot in their mouth!
3. Think For Yourself
Politics is all about power. Politicians want power. Over what? Over you. Don’t give it to them unless you think they deserve it. Party lines are silly and they are (as stated above) fleeting. When you look to educate yourself about politics take everything with a grain of salt. Don’t compromise your morality, beliefs or convictions to vote along party lines. Also, explore alternative ideas of government. Maybe you are more of a fascist (it is a legitimate form of government!!! Just because bad guys ruined it, it doesn’t make it terrible by nature!) or a marxist, or a theocrat? Explore and think! It will do you a lot of good in the long run!
4. Remember your citizenship
(This one is for the Christians, sorry to all of my great non-Christian readers) It can be so easy to get wrapped up in this world and it’s institutions but ultimately, they are going to burn. In light of eternity, these next 60 years and your votes are not going to matter all that much. One day, Jesus is going to make all things right and subject all things to his reign and rule. On that day, everything will be made right (you don’t have to make it right!). Maybe it is a better use of time to love your political opponent than to argue with him. If you win an argument (or an election) but disobey Jesus, is it worth it? We are citizens of heaven, not nationalists. Because our savior was apolitical, it is a viable option. Even if you choose to be involved in politics, you will find more joy by doing it in light of the gospel of God’s grace. There is no culture war, but a savior who has claimed victory over satan, sin and death. What a better hope than Obama, Ron Paul or Rock Santorum!!
Also, if you can tell me who all of the people in the pictures in this post are, I’ll send you a free copy of the 9/11 Commission Reports as a prize.