What’s Wrong with Your Politics

This is something of a retro post given I wrote it about a year ago, but didn’t feel good about sharing it for fear of miscommunication. I’ve since thought more on the subject and reworked my communication, I hope you can appreciate the endeavored pursuit of good and peace.

Politics. Everyone’s favorite subject! At least until someone disagrees with you then all of a sudden we need David Attenborough guiding viewers through the scrap. I’ve been thinking about the us-against-them politics, anti-black, anti-white, anti-cop, anti-”theotherside” movements in the U.S. I do wish to state clearly that in no way do I defend, appreciate, or respect the extremes of any of these viewpoints and this is only a caution against a particular way of thinking, speaking, acting, and feeling.

It seems that today’s movements (political and otherwise) are defined by what they stand against rather than what they stand for, they define themselves by decrying the existence or practices of others. I am of the opinion that this ultimately engenders spirits of hate, aggression, and accusation due to the fact that the individual becomes the enemy rather than the intellectual concept. It is no different than how for centuries militaries have striven to paint their enemies in as vividly evil pictures as possible in order to mentally survive the terrors of war.

Turning issues into us-versus-them can most definitely assist political and social success in the short term, but it also means that you must strip the issue of all particulars only targeting the most basic human emotions hate or love. There is no caring or understanding. One can either inspire from a standpoint of love or a standpoint of hate and unfortunately hate is the easiest and simplest power due to its more visceral nature. Pair that with the impersonal nature of social media and you have the U.S. today, racked by anger and division. People who pick a side are automatically subjected to hate by those those ideas they now oppose and when one tries to withdraw from expressed opinions they are ostracized for not caring or perhaps considered arrogant for their aloofness.

I asked myself, what made movement leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and William Wilberforce different? I think the answer is that they called us to something bigger and better than ourselves, pointed us toward a greater good. Wilberforce was not anti-oldwhitemen or anti-politician instead he voiced his belief in humanity and directed us to acknowledge Africans as our fellow human beings rather than pieces of property. Dr. King was not anti-south or anti-police instead, he painted a picture of his dream of all standing by the American creed that all men are created equal. Rather than calling out for chaotic anger, they both pointed us to the beauty and righteousness of brotherhood and sisterhood.

Paint the picture as pitched battle lines and all you will be left with are entrenched sides and cold inhuman interaction. “Good, they should be afraid.” “Too bad.” Congrats, you’ve told everyone who might disagree or maybe just had a different experience that you do not care about them. The reality of life is that the world can be dark and it is full of evil men like Weinstein and racists alike, but it is equally true that hate and aggression only beget more darkness. Stand up for what is right! But do so in ways which include and show respect and love to your fellow men and women. What are you trying to do, out-hate your opponents?? #chooselove

Pursuing Hope

Recently the judicial system in which democracies have placed so much hope decided against life. I’m sure many of you saw the story about Charlie the young baby who was determined to be unfit to fight for due to his terminal illness. This story made me incredibly mad for several reasons including the disregard for his parent’s, the giving and caring of thousands around the world, and the commitment of the U.S. doctor who offered to help. However, I want to focus on what this decision says about life apart from hope.

How many of us are daily exposed to stories of war, violence, and hatred? That’s fairly easy – all of us. How much trauma does the world experience every hour? How many people are suffering from the darkness that is ever present seeking to tear us apart? We live in a world where such concerns are a daily focus and such thoughts fill our minds casting down our high visions and mangling our goals. So what keeps us fighting and striving? Why do we continue to march into conflict and set visions and goals? Hope.

Now, in this world full of death and destruction Charlie’s parents were fighting for life, goodness, and hope and were withstood by those same institutions established to preserve, protect, and sustain life. What might possibly cause an individual to decide against life? A lack of hope in something bigger and better for little Charlie. Because those who decided against his life cannot comprehend loving and fighting for something as weak and broken as little Charlie. They try to justify and make it sound acceptable by saying that he is dying with dignity, but is that really fighting for Charlie or is it making a statement about his quality of life and right to live?

Why would someone vote against Charlie? Only a decided lack of hope in something higher and better, something which says there is more to life than a perfect body and mind. Something that justifies life as more meaningful than the perfection of physical attributes or what we in our humanity may value. Who are you to say that all that composes Charlie is his “imperfect” body and mind? Who are you to say his life can have no meaning here on earth? Who are you to say his parents cannot give their all for his life?

Saying no to Charlie’s life is to say no to precious life in the middle of a world torn by trauma and death. According to such rules at what point do you draw the line and say life is worth fighting for? Who is to say that those who made the decision are not too old or expensive to care for? To make such decisions in such a way is to play God, no matter how many agree with the decision. Life is precious and worth fighting for in all its forms, shapes and sizes. Is your life not worth fighting for too? History is filled with stories of imperfect people having a positive impact on the world around them because they had hope and shared with with the rest of us.