I don’t engage in many conversations about politics, especially in person. I find that too many people wrap their identity in their politics to the point that any question about a policy or a candidate is interpreted as a personal attack that must be deflected. And often that deflection means destroying the enemy. In the mean time, no one has learned anything new, considered a new perspective, or had to really think about their own beliefs.
Something else that I have found, that people have a hard time accepting, is the difference between what the average citizen thinks about how government runs versus how it actually runs.
Like any other area in life, people have a first naiveté when it comes to government. This happens with religion where we have a “Precious Moments” version of God and bible – the nice and pleasant version suitable for a five year old. And that means people are left with just a small perspective about God – some find this lacking and end up leaving religion all together because of this without exploring the possibility that there is far more than what they have experienced.
When it comes to politics, the “Precious Moments” version could be summed up in the old “I’m just a bill” cartoon that attempted to explain the legislative process to children. Those cartoons did a good job of describing how the ideal process does work and how it should work. However, just like the “Precious Moments” bible, it is severely lacking and doesn’t deal with the realities of manipulation, money, power, influence, promises, corruption and threats and the possibility for real change and goodness to come through – in other words, it leaves out humanity and everything that goes with it.
So why do we do this? That’s a question I don’t know that there is an answer for. It’s more just something to be aware of. Of course, it happens in many other areas of life too, not just religion and politics. I know beyond a doubt that I suffer from this in other areas of life – areas that I’m not even aware of.
Sometimes you come across people who are open to exploring, ready to move past the “Precious Moments” version of an area of life. In those moments, it’s wonderful to talk with a person who is waking up, maturing, seeing reality for the first time. It’s also scary for the person to wake up to this – there has been a paradigm shift. In that time, it’s comforting to have someone who can walk with you, even if they are the the ones who are opening your eyes. When this happens, it’s a different type of precious moment – one to be cherished because it in reality.