The current political climate reminds me of one of my favorite scenes in the movie Stand By Me…
Young Gordie, who aspires to be a writer, tells a campfire story of a pie eating contest. When a rather corpulent young man is harassed by some town brats, he decides to retaliate in a most inventive manner. Before consuming a mass of pie, he downs a bottle of Castor Oil. The story ends with him projectile-vomiting blueberry pie, causing the entire audience to respond by vomiting en masse.
At the end of the story, the chubby young man sits back pleased with his creation of bile and blueberries. I’d imagine it’s how Satan must laugh at us using political talking points to destroy each other now.
I want to warn you against something that’s sure to destroy you. It’ll make you say terrible things to family members, and destroy friendships it took years to build. Worst of all, it will blind you to common ground you share with others, as you demand all of humanity to take sides.
It’s called politics, and it is destroying our society and eating our souls.
This election season, I’ve already deleted several of my responses to the posts of others on Facebook, begging for kindness. I hate the way my friends’ posts from all sides of the political spectrum drive a wedge between me and them. It’s not even that I disagree with them – it’s how hatefully they’re often saying it.
Calls for civility only end up with being told you should “take a stand” for what’s right. I am not Switzerland. I will take my stand, in the voting booth. I simply refuse to be a jerk.
When November has come and gone, we’ll all be left with what matters most: our friends and family. Relationships are the only things of lasting value in this life, and they’re exactly what we jeopardize when we go from simply “speaking our minds” to attacking others for speaking theirs.
Sure, I hear all the arguments: “How could anyone be an intelligent human being and support fill in the blank?” So much of what I read implies you’d have to be a complete moron or intrinsically evil to disagree. And I’m hearing this from both sides.
Yet don’t we show our impartiality when we’re willing to acknowledge when our opponent makes a good point? We prove we’re not mindless partisans when we avoid painting opposing candidates as completely evil.
I dare you – admit to yourself right now the areas where you and your opposing candidate actually agree. Unless you’re a mindless robot, you’ll find at least one and possibly more things where you both think alike.
Why? Because you’re both human, and human beings have more in common than they have separating them.
I believe we’re in a dangerous place right now as a country. Our distrust of each other is spilling out of the internet and into the streets. We demonize those with whom we disagree, pushing each other further and further away. Surely much of our racial divide is more a byproduct of our polarizing rhetoric than our actual prejudices. We keep raising the stakes verbally, and our words push us to the extremes of the arguments.
We forget a boat with no one willing to meet in the middle will eventually capsize from the weight of those running to opposite ends.
Wouldn’t it be the ultimate irony if we all fought so desperately to win the Whitehouse but in the end were left with a country not worth fighting for anymore?
That doesn’t mean we can’t take a side and speak our mind. It doesn’t mean we silence our disagreements with the views of others. But it does mean we continue to see people who disagree with us as human beings who are intrinsically valuable to God, and acknowledge that only God Himself knows who’s truly right and wrong.
That is, if any of us are right at all. From God’s view of the Truth, we may not even be getting warm.
Most of all, we must realize a “scorched earth” strategy ultimately means we’ll all have to live in what’s left of that charred landscape. So before you type that next political rant or post that hateful diatribe, ask yourself,
“Aren’t my relationships more important to me than proving my point? And in what mess will we be living, once November is done?”