I hate politics.
Well, that’s not entirely true. I know I’ve said it for years, but it’s not quite on-the-mark.
Politics, simply defined, means:
activities that relate to influencing the actions and policies of a government or getting and keeping power in a government
the work or job of people (such as elected officials) who are part of a government
the opinions that someone has about what should be done by governments : a person’s political thoughts and opinions (Merriam-Webster)
Politics is just a necessary part of government, and especially self-government.
I hate what politics has become. I hate what a two-party system has morphed politics into in the United States: oppositional extremism, where the filthiest words in Washington are “collaboration,” “cooperation,” “compromise,” “statesmanship” and “integrity.”
Politics has become gamesmanship rather than statesmanship. The only goal is for party ideology to win; not for the country to win or for the people to be best governed; just for one party to win over the other.
It’s as if the old junior high school cheer has become our new national anthem: “Lean to the left! Lean to the right! Stand up! Sit down! Fight-fight-fight!”
And there are no rules about the fight any longer. If rules become inconvenient, the majority side suspends or repeals them. There is no ethic to govern the behavior of candidates or elected officials or appointees. There isn’t even a basic familiarity with the Constitution and how government works in order to guide the process. No rules. Anything it takes … to win.
The result is:
- If you don’t pick a side, you’re unpatriotic.
- If you refuse to vote because the choices you’re offered are unacceptable, then everything unacceptable that happens afterward is your fault.
- If you think for yourself, you are dangerous and untrustworthy.
Well, I refuse to play that damned game anymore.
In a game where rules are optional, nobody wins.
There are planks of platforms in both major parties and a couple of minor parties that I agree with and fully support.
But there is no one party that unfailingly and unflinchingly represents what is best for the people of the United States. Both are sold out to ideology. Both are sold out to special interests. Both have sold their souls for political contributions because the goal is winning.
So I’m not Republican or Democrat or Libertarian or Green or Socialist or any other convenient categorizing label.
Because “my party right or wrong” is just plain stupid. They’re both wrong about some things and they’re both right about some things and when they won’t cooperate on solutions to the nation’s problems, then everybody suffers.
And here’s the one where I’ll really lose friends:
I lean to the left.
I lean to the left, maybe ever so slightly, because I am a follower of Christ. I find that the underlying ideology of the left seeks the good of others and the entire nation over the good of self, and that is a value I believe to be Christ-like. The underlying ideology of the left is built on sharing and trusting and inclusiveness. It is based on love.
I find that the underlying ideology of the right seeks the good of self and only others who are like oneself or close to oneself. It seeks that benefit over the good of the entire nation and over the good of others, especially others not like oneself; others of different social stratum, or religious belief, or skin color, or income or political ideology. The underlying ideology of the right is built on accumulating and keeping and distrust and exclusiveness. It is based on fear.
That may not be the way that the right’s underlying ideology is expressed in noble terms of earning and self-determination and less government and more security and nationalism and capitalism, but that is how it plays out when carried to its extreme. And these days, everything is carried to its extreme.
Oh, but abortion! some might say; we care about the unborn babies! So do I. I don’t believe the vast majority people who lean to the left are dedicated to being pro-abortion or are “baby-killers.” But in all of the 40+ years since Roe v. Wade, I have yet to see the right or left establish landmark legislation that would genuinely encourage a reduction in the number of abortions; something that recognizes that women are going to be the ones making the choice – not legislators – and that there are a huge number of factors which affect that decision.
That’s the subject of another post entirely, or even a series of posts.
My point would be, if you are voting based on this single issue and ignoring the rest of the issues that surround life in the United States of America and how it is governed, then you are voting like the mythical ostrich … head in the sand.
Because the policies of the left, generally – the policies seeking the good of others above self – are the ones which have been and are likely to be more successful at reducing the number of abortions in our nation: a livable wage, maternity and paternity leave, affordable/accessible health care and child care, public education, hunger prevention, and so on.
Now I would be the first to advocate that most of these should be less the function of government and more the function of church and charity, but the fact is that church and charity aren’t getting it done, and when the call of Christ is for us to look after for each other, I don’t really believe He ever specified or gave a flying flapjack whether the help comes from individuals, from people working together as churches, charities or governments. Just as long as the poor and the disfranchised are included and shown tangible love; that’s all He specified.
So I lean to the left. A little. I think I always have. I suspect I always will.
But I know I will always maintain that the best course for the country will never be down a path of partyism, divisiveness and extremism. That’s what two-and-only-two major parties yields. You can line up all the political sociologists in the world and have them recite together for me, “But that is the natural result in a democratic republic” forever and ever, but what is natural will not make it right for the nation.
Agree or disagree; pile up your arguments and defend your extremist party if you want to.
It won’t change the facts:
- Division leads to disaster.
- Bias destroys truth.
- Power corrupts.
- We work best when we work together.
We deserve a better United States than our party loyalty yields, and so does the rest of the world.
(Comments are closed on this one. You can play political football somewhere else.)