Last week, we finished a series at my church about politics and the kingdom of God. It's been on my mind all week. I realize that some of you might be ready to stop reading this post already - but just give me a moment. I may not be going the direction you think...
The younger version of myself worked briefly for a public policy organization while on a "break" from college years ago. I was passionate about what a true statesman could do in office - like show us a different way of governing America. When my party swept into power, I was convinced that America had a brighter and better future. After all, GOD was on my party's side and we would prevail.
Since then, we've been through war, recession and power struggles that have given both parties opportunity to show what they're really made of. And what have both of them proved over and over? That neither integrity, scandal, good intention nor corruption are characteristics exclusive to either party and that business as usual is often a prominent theme for both. When it comes right down to it, politics is a messy business and no matter who you voted for, they are sure to disappoint you in some way.
So, what am I suggesting? Don't I believe in America? Should we throw in the towel and stop voting? Give up and hope for the best? Don't I believe God is a Republican/Democrat?
Well, in order -
2. No and
4. Uh, no. I don't.
Here's what I DO believe about politics
I believe in exercising my right to vote. If you are feeling disillusioned, just look at the world around us and see what happens when people don't have the chance to vote or the incredible opportunity we have to change who's in power. Even when party members prove to be less than the "saviors" we're hoping them to be, they still create change and prove that the checks and balances in our system still work.
I believe in the people of America and more specifically - the people in my immediate community. They have proven over and over again their extraordinary strength, courage and compassion in the times it has been needed most. Think 9-11, Katrina and countless other disasters here at home and around the world. I believe in my fellow country-people and I believe in the Constitution of this country, which provides the framework for a culture that produced such fiercely freedom-loving and caring people.
I believe that change begins with me. More than affiliation with the right political party, I believe the characteristic which should define my life is love for my neighbor -even if he or she doesn't share my political views. And not just theoretical love - where I say, "I love him but I don't like him very much" and consequently don't associate with him or her. I'm talking about real, genuine love and friendship - which guides the way I treat my neighbors and causes me to engage in real relationships within my community.
So, for those of you who are disappointed/excited about the election results this morning, remember that REAL, lasting change won't be a result of any one party getting into office. Because when elections are over, politicians and the public often go back to business as usual. Real change in our world will happen when people like you and like me choose to get up off our couches, leave the comfort zone of our houses, families and churches and (as Gandhi said) become the change we want to see in the world.
What do you believe? Agree or not - post your opinions below. Just do it courteously.