|Bronson, pointing the way to a brighter future.|
As I watched a clip of President Obama and family walking on stage to give his victory speech this morning, Bronson waved like a president, and when the crowd cheered, he added his own applause.
His wave is part-presidential, part-parade caravan, part-toddler. For whatever reason, he’s drawn to politics. When a political ad came on T.V., he stopped what he was doing to watch. The voice of politicians caught his attention, and the applause, regardless of which candidate it praised, prompted his own clapping.
While I’d like to pretend that his innocent intrigue was enough to inspire me to participate in politics, it was not. I’ve been a political cynic and eye-roller at all sides since I was old enough to vote. I don’t think there are good options. I don’t think politicians speak Biblical truth. I think most Americans use politics as an excuse to dehumanize those who don’t agree with their own views.
Thankfully the day before Election Day, as I seriously considered not evening casting a ballot, I read an article that inspired me to engage in my civic privilege. (As a note: I do not know much about the Jesus for President movement, so I’m not fully endorsing whatever they may represent.)
The article gave me hope that there are Christians who are not interested in marrying Christ with a political party. I value the sanctity of life in the womb, in the immigrant, in the Middle Easterners we bomb. Jesus called us to take care of the poor, to give voice to the marginalized, to be hospitable to foreigners and strangers, to bless our enemies. He spoke about money throughout the New Testament. To those who have much, much is expected. Living in debt is not good stewardship.
And while I use these values to fall somewhere between Donkey and Elephant, I think Christians subscribe to the Republican or Democrat party for good reasons. The problem is that we’re failing to be the light of Christ when we engage in politics like the rest of our country: refusing to have earnest, honest debates with ears more open than our mouths, claiming that anyone opposing our views could not be Christians themselves, dehumanizing people and talking about issues rather than ever personally knowing someone different than ourselves. In other words, we’re prideful, laking humility and service. Politics is a public service. As Christians, we should lead the way in serving others, in loving our neighbors as ourselves. Our votes shouldn’t be selfish. Our voices shouldn’t be crass. Our politics shouldn’t lack Christ.
While this blog breaks my long-standing silence on politics, I still hesitate to hit publish. I’ve avoided political discussions for years, knowing my thoughts offend people on both sides, knowing it’s not an arena filled with love or open-mindedness, knowing I don’t know enough to defend my opinions or thoughts, knowing I can’t solve the deep polarization of our society. But Christ can. So no matter our political views, as Christians we shouldn’t be demoralized or defeated based on political candidates. They will not save us. That is the message we are to share with the world. Our hope and steadfastness will be our light.