Week of Lies and Decept..... er politics: Part II
If you follow my twitter feed (@jason__ropp) or are friends with me on facebook, you might have noticed that like many, my updates have turned with the seasons to be a bit more political, sort of. But I think, I hope, I’ve been asking a different set of questions. Last week I brought it to the blog; this week I’m stepping it up a bit with some help from a few friends who are asking the same questions about faith and politics that I am. If you’d like to chime in, this isn’t a place to politic, it’s a place to take a break from convincing people of your candidate and ask yourself, “What are politics doing to my faith?” I won't be voting this year... sort of.
I will be casting a ballot, but it will be as empty as the calories in a Krispy Kream donut. Chad will not be punched, dimpled, pregnant, or hanging.
Four years ago, as I mentioned on Monday, my frustration with Christians and the political process began to reach boiling point. Somehow the posture of Jesus and Paul's call to emulate his humility in Philippians 2 didn't apply to the political process. Our job was to demonize and obliterate our ideological differents –for Jesus sake of course.
Around this time, I was taking a Colonial American history class at Indiana University South Bend. During one of our breaks we were chatting about the upcoming election and the fact that Indiana was, for the first time in a long time, a swing state. When the conversation turned to the responsibility to vote one of my classmates, (who claimed Sam Adams, the namesake of his favorite beer, to be his favorite American) exclaimed in patriotic fashion, "If you don't vote, you can't bitch!"
Those words sunk deep into my heart. Voting, how you voted, who you voted for, if you didn't vote, affected your position, informed your posture, your mindset, maybe even faith. Sam Adams guy was right; if I didn't vote, I couldn't complain about a candidate I didn't vote for or against. I was removing my voice from one conversation in order to clear my throat and start a different conversation altogether.
This isn't to say that I've never interjected myself into the political fray, but the last four years have been an eye opener. When you no longer directly affiliate yourself with a political ideal, you start to notice different things, like how news outlets across the spectrum as well as their audience operates. Personally I started seeing gaping flaws in the ideology I had previously accepted without hesitation. Admitting flaws, after all, weakened position, and a weakened position made the goal of winning more difficult.
While my initial decision to not vote brought a lot of changes, I didn't realize just how long of a road it had been until a couple weeks ago. I was talking with someone about (lo and behold) politics. He asked me about my own thoughts about the election, which I found out by the end of the conversation meant that he wanted to tell me what he thought. Whenever I would express my concern about the affect of political power on followers of Jesus, this man would tell me why I should vote for his candidate because the opposing candidate was going to ruin the country. At one point I said, "Sure vote for so and so, now lets talk about something different." No good, he went back to talking points. My previous decision to intentionally not vote, linked with my upcoming decision to cast an empty ballot kept reminding me of something, that I was taking part in a different discussion.
I'll wrap this up on Friday.