I’d say that I’m getting sick of politics, but the statement would be inaccurate. I have ALWAYS been sick of politics. Probably since before I was born onto this planet, I hated politics. It’s just that lately, I am sick-ER. This is mostly because the US is coming up on a new presidential election, something I have been longing for now some eight years. Yes, I know we actually have them every four years, but I’ve been hoping for one that could sense for two cycles, now.
The formal circus begins with these “caucus” meetings. As much as I know about etymology, I have no idea where the word “caucus” comes from. Every time I hear it, I think of that kind of gross little shell caterpillars build when they’re hoping to turn butterfly. Not the process, but the weird little brown casing itself – made all of hardened secretions. A caucus is a convocation of politically interested people (meaning having a vested interest in the outcome) – which should actually be every citizen of the country. But someone forgot to work into the process the fact that most solid citizens have jobs and families and property to maintain and time out for political conventions actually costs them.
These things would be so much more sleek if you had to buy a license to speak at them, proving that you can make a point in under three minutes. And that you are not crazy (in either the left or the right tradition). And if they fed you dinner for free just for showing up.
The caucuses pick the candidates, winnowing down the vast field of hopefuls in a specific party. Delegates vote in convention, choosing just one person to be the official Republican or Democrat candidate. And those couple of lucky winners get sent into the national coliseum to duke things out.
The amazing thing is how people who say they represent the interests of the same party can tear each other to shreds in the act. And the thing that fired me up to write this bit was a radio sound bite I heard the other day, some female delegate, a self-proclaimed evangelical Christian, explaining why she would not vote for Mit Romney, who happens to be LDS.
She said something to this effect: “I just can’t send somebody to Washington whose religious beliefs are dangerous and will do harm to this country.”
And I blanked out. Whaa? Was she saying this in reference to Romney? Naw. But – yes. She was.
And then I was mad. And so should be every single intelligent Evangelical, since she was taking it upon herself to represent the aggregate with that incredibly stupid statement.
First of all, this country is made up of ALL KINDS of religious traditions. And the stark and howling truth of the matter is that every religious tradition is made of up ALL KINDS of religious opinions. Take best friends or twins or long married people, all pairs having membership in the same exact church, “believing” the same exact list of tenets. Have each person draw a portrait of God: will those portraits look exactly the same? No. Pretty sure they won’t. Have those people explain in specific terms what is meant by keeping the Sabbath day holy. Will that list of specifics be identical? Betting not.
Truth is out there. It’s just – we are guessing at what it is, all the time. Reading scriptures and deciding what they mean – as many interpretations as there are eyes to read, and as many applications as there are times a single person reads the same words. The same scripture changes with circumstance, health of the reader, world events, state of the marriage, level of loneliness or joy or love. Somewhere at the center of What Is is a hard, immutable truth. But I have never met any human being who has a handle on what that truth looks like. Only opinions, guesses, interpretations, poetic romantical “shoulds” – and those colored highly by vested interests, desire and fear.
A president is supposed to steer a very heavy ship of state. He’s suppose to uphold the body of law, the constitution, which – like it or not – was written from a base of Judeo-Christian values. But he is NOT supposed to impose his own religious peculiarities on the law, the people, the airwaves, the fate of the planet.
All of that said, here is one supposed Christian coolly damning another Christ-based believer in a way that told me she had absolutely no understanding whatsoever of the beliefs subscribed to by the person she was damning. What a mess of little cannibals we are.
What kind of religious person could we feel comfortable electing, then? Someone who believes exactly the same thing we believe? (Please refer to paragraphs above.) Okay then, what kind of religious beliefs should disqualify a man who is thirty five years old, a natural citizen and a resident of the US for at least fourteen years?
Religious traditions that:
Are predisposed to send anybody who disagrees with them to hell?
Advocate the sacrifice or culinary consumption of children, virgins or any other human sorts?
Would strip citizenship protections from people whose diet is deemed sinful?
Administers disapproval by means of beheading?
Believes the punishment for sin should be instant death?
Believes rules and law are only for people who are different, and that life should be one long, exciting orgy for members of their own party? Or has a secret agenda to throw over the rule of law and set up some Godly dictator who also gets to approve all publishing house new release lists?
Intends to override all law with the tenants of that faith, enforcing them by main force and punishing those who deviate with torture and death? Ahhh.
So exactly what LDS beliefs does that “Christian” woman find dangerous and harmful to the country?
That LDS people believe in the reality of God?
That LDS people believe Christ is the Son of God?
That they read the Bible?
That all of their literature is based on the teachings of Christ?
That honesty, virtue, kindness, service, hard work are the way to joy and love and a lovely community?
That free choice is the centerpiece of mortal existence?
That the atonement of Christ is the door out of here and back home again?
That people should be responsible for their own actions? Or that they can change their lives for the better?
That people should obey the law, and if they don’t like the law, seek to change it through the channels set up for that purpose?
Boy, I look at that list I just made, and I am frightened. What a monster that Mit Romney must be.
I can see that there are people who would feel threatened by him because he is a good Christian – people who don’t love Christianity. But even they have to understand that, by definition, a good Christian must be, by their own adherence to the teachings of Christ, the best neighbor and friend ever. Not inclined to judge, but rather to help, heal, support, and listen with concern and sympathy. Not likely to take what isn’t his, to treat others harshly, to harm in any way. The problem is that too many people don’t actually live the tenents of their religions, whatever those may be. They just wear the banner and the button and the hat and shoot their mouths off about things they don’t actually understand and assume that everybody but them is wrong.
Romney may be my choice and he might not. The fact that he is LDS and that he has a reputation for trying very hard to live as a good man does influence me. And I hear that Santorum (I don’t know his religion) also tries very hard to be a good man. That influences me, also. But I wouldn’t vote for either, regardless of religious affiliation, if the “good man” in their personal lives wasn’t there.
Some people have called Romney a flip-flopper because of the way he handled Massachusetts. Too liberal with his health program and his apparent laisez-faire attitude toward homosexual marriage. But here is what I think: I think that when a man is elected to office, he is not made head of religion. I think he is elected to uphold and administer the law and to make sure that his constituents are safe, protected in their harmless pursuit of personal happiness, free to choose their own interpretation of the universe. He is not elected to provide everything for everybody who wants something, nor is he made schoolmaster and micromanager of personal lives.
If people who are Jewish elect a Christian man, it is not because they want him to force them to live as Christians. It’d be because they respect his respect for them. Massachusetts is it’s own little world; the people there look at things a little differently than people look at things in Texas which sees things differently than Utah or even California, which sees things differently than almost anybody on the planet who does not surf.
The governor of a state, if he is being true to that office, has to serve the state that elected him, bringing out the best in it, but always with an eye to the rights of that group of voters who elected him. Of all responsible citizens to make their own choices in life. (Irresponsible ones who constantly do harm and have one hand on a hip and the other out for free stuff do not count.) He may be wiser than his constituents, and so try to shape the law to keep them safer and healthier than they’d keep themselves – but you have to be very, very careful with that kind of attitude. Helping someone means that you have the wisdom to see who they are and to help them become the best form of the human brand they’ve chosen for themselves. And to keep people from harming each other. It doesn’t mean taking over a person’s life and telling her how to live it.
And what Mit did in Massachusetts seems good. If the more conservative voices in the country think he should have said “NO,” to the adult citizens of the state, as though they were simply out of control children – well, that’s just wrong. And if the liberal voices also think he should say “NO,” to conservative voices in that state – they’re just wrong.
I don’t know who I want to vote for. But not for that idiot “Christian” woman, who frighteningly has just as much right to wield the power of a vote as I do (and I am aware enough of my own ignorance to look at my right to wield that power with terror). And not for people who smirk and mock other people. (I hate that democrat on Fox News after what he said about Rick Santorum – what a jerk. And it’s not like I am inclined to believe only good about Rick Santorum – I don’t even know the guy.) And not for people who want to force me to dance to their tune, I don’t care what side of what fence they stand on.
Maybe not for any human being on the face of the earth.
But we have to have a government. And the one we’ve got now (it’s full of idiots, judging from recent actions taken to “fix” things, all based on their failed past fixing strategies)? It stinks.
Human governance is complex because humans are complex. Government is stupid because humans are stupid. And it’s dangerous because humans can be very, very dangerous.
I think it is very brave of free nations to have elections like this, and then to work with what they get the morning after, not showing up with armies, yelling, “WE TAKE IT BACK.”
So I guess you can’t get around politics.
But I can still hate them.
I have the right to.