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  • Writer's pictureDub

Politics

Note - On my website I'm reviewing and revising posts from my old blog that I find still hold up. This is one of those posts. If you read it before, thank you. If not, I hope you find this and others worthwhile.


In 1961 the Peanuts comic strip quoted the esteemed philosopher Linus regarding politics.


Politics
Copyright Peanuts Worldwide LLC

As a reader of this blog you are aware that I’ve already broken the first rule regarding religion. Now with utter disregard for caution I’m violating the second rule. Check back in the Fall to see if I get around to the Great Pumpkin.


What Is Politics?


Politicsthe activities associated with the governance of a country or other area. Especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power. Definition according to Oxford English Dictionary


Power - the crux of the matter. Politics refers to activities regarding the acquisition and exertion of power, particularly of one person or group over another. People align with others in political parties or movements according to their desires, beliefs, and notions of who should have power, who should be denied power, and who controls and exerts power in all its forms over others. Debate and conflict ensue.


Why Am I Writing About This?


I believe we are at a critical juncture in the life and history of our nation and the world. I’ve already written of my concern that mankind stands on the precipice of one foolish decision or unwise exercise of power that may result in a Third World War. Wouldn’t it be great if our nation and perhaps even the world could come together in a display of common sense and shared humanity to overcome the pernicious evils that constantly plague us?


The truth is that we in the USA can’t even get our own house in order, much less lead the world. We are in the midst of a political season of crisis producing deep negative societal consequences. These threats extend to every aspect of the health and well-being of the populace. Political division, intolerance, hatred, and a deep sense of distrust, betrayal, and ill will on both sides of this divide threaten even the very existence of our national union.


Recent polls indicate that a majority of Americans believe our democracy is in danger of collapse. Political and social personalities on all sides of the political spectrum go to great lengths to publicly air grave concerns that the United States is close to losing our constitutional democracy. Each side accuses the other of rigging and abusing the system to place or keep “the wrong people” in power. There hasn’t been this kind of cataclysmic divide in our country since the issues of slavery, states' rights, and the power the Federal government propelled the nation into a very uncivil, Civil War. This could get very ugly.


My View On Politics


I’m a registered independent voter for a reason. Before anything else, I am Christian; a disciple of Jesus Christ. As in all things my faith informs my politics. I believe my allegiance belongs to God first and foremost, not to a political party. That doesn’t mean I don’t have any fondness or allegiance to the United States and its well-being. I’ve traveled a great deal and believe me, this is still a great country. The Founding Fathers exercised amazing wisdom in the creation of our form of government. I believe they did so under Divine guidance. You may not agree with me. That's OK, but there’s a lot of evidence in their writings and in the nation’s founding documents to support my belief.


The great thing about the United States and its foundational structure is that we retain the ability to self-correct through the exercise of responsible self-government. Even if you vehemently disagree with my notions and opinions, there is room at the table for people of goodwill, even those with diametrically opposed points of view, to work together for the common good. However, in the present we seem to have mostly lost that ability.


The Problem


Regardless of a person’s religious or non-religious views, my concern is that political affiliation in the pursuit of power and control have supplanted religious faith and goodwill toward others as the guiding forces of our nation. It seems politics in itself has become a powerful object of self-worship to which many slavishly bow. This is particularly tragic.


Political idolatry appears in several forms.


  1. Our idol is a certain religious or non-religious philosophy or practice that sets itself above all others.

  2. Our idol is an exclusionary identification with a certain subset, tribe, or people group above all others.

  3. Our idol is trust in atheistic worship of deeply flawed self-centered human wisdom, allowing no place for those outside of whatever passes for majority opinion at the current moment.

  4. Our idol is holding ourselves as god, placing our own selfish desires and interests above everyone and everything else.

  5. Our idol is a certain charismatic individual. We serve a cult of personality and expect a politician to meet our agenda without regard to the well-being of others.


As a Christian I am glad the USA is a nation that values the separation of church and state. As a student of the Bible and history I know that any time church and state get in bed together to consolidate power it is never a good thing. Previous outcomes indicate that such an unholy union produces a bastard that terrorizes and persecutes those that will not comply. That’s true whether the “church” is a widely recognized religious institution, denomination, sect, or cult; or a secular movement that exhibits similar zeal and fervor.


Hope For The Future


I continue to have hope that the guardrails that are in place in our foundational documents, particularly those that are rooted in the teachings of Jesus and the Bible, will eventually keep those in power and those striving for it from wrecking the ship of state and perhaps the entire world. This will depend on just how far those who are in power and those who are grasping for power observe, honor, respect, and allow for good, decent governance according to the established foundations. One source of hope outside of my faith in God is that Independents now outnumber both Democrats and Republicans.


We have evidence that a large majority of Americans are sick to death of the political machinations of both parties. We're both tired and annoyed by the insane lust for power and domination utilizing the latest divide and conquer strategies.


According to Gallup in the 2023 survey, an average of 27% of Americans identified as Democrats, tied by 27% Republicans, with a 43% majority of Independents. Roughly equal proportions of Independents leaned to the Democratic Party or to the Republican Party. On average, 36% of U.S. adults described their political views as conservative, 36% as moderate and 25% as liberal. Ideological identification has changed little in recent years; the latest figures essentially match the averages over the past 10 years.


Outside of the vocal minority on either end of the spectrum, it appears there is more unanimity that one would expect from the propaganda and sensationalism of media reports. Perhaps calamity can be avoided after all.


Politics & Propaganda


Can we tame the divisive political beast in our nation before it devours us? I think there is still time. If politics = lust for power, then propaganda, biased or misleading information, is the lever most often used by political entities to exercise control of the population. First, we have to deal with the propaganda machines and their damnable lies. We’ve all been poisoned.


Political Propaganda
Politics & Propaganda

There is an incredible amount of false information and purposely deceitful manipulation at work in our culture. Pilate’s question to Jesus just prior to His crucifixion remains relevant today. What is truth? Is it just the ideas, thoughts, and data points that line up with what we already believe? Or is there actual, verifiable, objective truth that we can discover, investigate, and then rely on?


We know that much of what we’ve been presented, perhaps believed, and even acted on in the last few years has turned out to be so much smoke and mirrors. And yet, we continue to hang on to false beliefs even when presented with verifiable evidence to the contrary. Especially when truth doesn’t fit the narrative that we have been fed by people, administrations, agencies, businesses, and organizations that have a vested interest in manipulating us for power.


I remain amazed when people believe all sorts of ridiculous lies and theories despite all evidence to the contrary. That's not me, right? Surely, I have it right! Wrong. I know I have believed lies. I’d be a fool to think that everything I hear, read, and believe is without error. That’s called pride. According to the Bible (which I do believe is without error) pride is the jumping off point for every other evil. Pride allows us to despise those that are not like us and dismiss and mistreat those that believe differently.


The Antidote


Antidote
Pride - Humility

If pride is the poison, humility is the antidote. Pride drives politics. Pride divides. Humility unites us as human beings. Humility encourages public service. Speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15 in the Bible) is the antidote to propaganda and every sort of societal evil. Perhaps we can start by cultivating humility. But here’s the thing. Humility is borne of humiliation. Humiliation allows for the possibility that I could be wrong. It means admitting when I really am wrong. It means asking for forgiveness from those I have hurt or demeaned with my words and actions. No one likes that but it is necessary. We all need more humility if our democracy, our nation, and perhaps even our world, is to survive.


Love is likewise not easy to practice. Love is not just a warm and fuzzy feeling. Love requires positive action toward everyone, even those with whom we strongly disagree. That is particularly difficult when we’re intentionally being manipulated and ripped apart with propaganda to establish and support the politics of power.


Much is said about love these days. I don’t know that much of what we hear and believe is actual truth. Here’s what most of the founders believed about love at the nation's inception. This quote is from I Corinthians 13:4-8 in the Bible. Whether you believe the Bible is God’s Word to us or not, see if this definition rings true to you.


“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”


A Final Word


Pam and I have a friend that served as an elected official and in several leadership positions to improve the lives of people. He refers to politics as “Poli-Tricks.” He isn’t wrong. Don’t let Poli-Tricks and those who practice and promote them ruin your life, make you angry and fearful, ruin relationships, and tear our communities and country apart. Make it your aim to gain as many friends and acquaintances as possible. Look for people of goodwill that are not like you, who may not believe the same things you do, who have different views and perspectives. Then, get to know them. Serve them. Love them. Love is a verb after all.


As always, thanks for reading. I look forward to your comments and feedback.

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