As mid-term elections loom this November, it seems that every possible issue… talk of life, death, health, family, religion, environment, nationality, and economy all get rolled into the overarching scope of “politics.”
Wow… since when did the entire human condition ultimately result in discussion of polarized bobble-head politicians?
As a follower of Christ, I found myself watching the news, reading “teh internets,” listening to the radio, and realizing how much of this polarizing, dividing, unhelpful political chatter was working hard to unseat Christ’s worldview as the center of my life focus.
Politics are co-opting every possible realm of human life. My friend Kevin referred to it as a “disease where everything is framed into an extreme stance.”
Another friend Brenden says, “Politicians and the media like to politicize everything because they profit from our division.”
So let us play with words and explore metaphors, shall we?
Tic. A tic is a movement disorder. -Wikipedia
One could relate politics as creating a similar movement disorder to that which movement and vocal tics create in a human body. A person with tics often described the sensation as “an itch that needs to be scratched,” or “something in my eye such that blinking relieves the sensation,” or “I feel a tension or weight on my shoulder that can only be relieved by shrugging or reacting.”
Politics impede the free movement of speech, ideas, and solutions and instead draw the discussion toward one extreme or the other. This builds tension which must be released. One must then release the tension whether voluntary or involuntary. What is the result? Constant reactivity rather than free-flow in the exchange of ideas. Free flowing ideas replaced with blurted out catch phrases and bobbling heads.
Tick. “Ticks are blood-feeding parasites that are often found in tall grass where they will wait to attach to a passing host.” -Wikipedia
This is all too easy. Need I flesh this one out?
Remember the quote above from my friend Brenden? Politicians and media love to make every issue one of politics. They profit from it. They thrive on it.
…but do we thrive on it?
Like a parasite, I think politics latch on to us and suck the life… the community… the person-hood out of “issues.”
Jesus talked openly about life, death, health, family, religion, environment, nationality, and economy. At the core of each discussion was how God was relating to people in ways that brought healing, hope, comfort, and relationship. Jesus admonished religious and political leaders who wanted to put every discussion into the contextual box of rules and laws.
We can all speak decisively that divisiveness is unhelpful and how we must work together to form community… but how many of us actually make that our practice? How many of us practice the healing, hope, comfort, and relationship of the Kingdom of God rather than practicing the skill of political debate and talk-point-parroting? I surely struggle. How many of us take a moment to trade the speaking of a politicized eager aggravated response for the listening, understanding, and loving that Jesus would demonstrate. Lord, have mercy on us.
How do we reclaim the community, relationship, and person-hood of “issues”? I know one thing… we don’t need politicians to “figure it out” for us.