The world of politics and partisanship makes everything sound so easy – you pick a side and that’s it. The world of politics and partisanship makes it sound as though everything that happens scores points for one party or the other.
I wish the world were just this easy. But it’s not.
The world of politics and partisanship has sucked an awful lot of people into its orbit, much like a black hole, with no escape. And that’s not a good thing. It’s not how a functioning society works. It is a recipe for a high anxious society though.
Human lives are far more important that scoring political points. This may be a surprise statement for some. It would be for those sucked into the world of partisan politics.
People like Hayley Geftman-Gold who was fired earlier this week by CBS for stating that
she was “not even sympathetic” to victims of the Las Vegas shooting because “country music fans often are Republican,”
To her credit, she issued an apology.
Or maybe Pat Robertson is more your speed. You can listen to his theory on why the shooting happened here. It’s all related to politics and partisan (dis)loyalty and disrespect for authority, don’t you know?
Or you can tune into talk radio – both liberal and conservative talking heads who relate literally everything to politics. Or you can read numerous political websites or blogs which tell their readers what to think about the events of the day and how we should think about them politically and how these events effect the fortunes of our politicians and political parties. The next election is just around the corner, don’t you know, and the outcome of the election determines your emotional state for the next two years. And of course, there’s another presidential election coming up too – another moment in which we get to decide who our next messiah will be.
Except this isn’t normal. Since when did we become a nation that hinges our decisions on every character tweeted or every word stated? Since when did average Americans place so much importance in what happens in DC and how it impacts their daily lives? Since when was it considered normal to place all of our faith and hope for the future in our elected officials, regardless of political party? Especially when our country was founded on the notion that we don’t trust government or one another.
Politics and partisanship is really good at pointing the finger of blame and determining who to shame. Even some religious figures fall into this trap. It feels good to point the finger and determine who or what is to blame. But that’s not what Christianity is about. Pointing the finger of blame and shame just prepares us for the next round of disaster to see who can score political points.
But it doesn’t help people who are hurting or who are suffering. It doesn’t accompany people who are struggling. It doesn’t sit with people who are grieving. It doesn’t walk with people who need to know they are not alone. It does make them into pawns to be used in the game of politics though.
We don’t need more scapegoats or those that would scapegoat people. We don’t need politics and partisanship as the foundation of life and society. These things have failed us and will fail us yet again.
Instead, our foundation has to be something much different. A different way of life and living. For me, that foundation comes from Jesus. He didn’t point the finger of blame and shame. He wasn’t concerned with scoring points. He concerned himself with people’s lives – encountering people so that their lives would change.
Not everything in life is about politics. Nor should it be.