I agree with Cindy Sheehan here (taken from her Facebook page this morning). And yes, I believe that “systems” was spelled that way intentionally; though I’m not in any hurry to remove people from my life.
I’ve been beating this drum that politics is just a frakkin’ dirty game. It’s ugly and it draws out the worst in people. Case in point from last night’s Tea Party debate among GOP candidates, when presented with the scenario of leaving a young man who got sick, fell into a coma and did not have insurance (though he had the option earlier) to die:
Ron Paul: That is what freedom is all about and taking your own risks. This whole idea that you have to take care of everyone…
Moderator: But congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?
(Crowd screams YES!)
The crowd goes wild!!!!
The same type of crowd that was cheering Texas Gov Rick Perry for the death of over 200 inmate prisoners.
At this rate, I worry about the propulsion of any true democracy. Are our people mutating into the extras from “Gladiator”?
Not that our dear Republic is working so well.
In response to some controversy about the so-called Safe Communities Act (which is working out to be anti-community, anti-family, and not-very-safe), a fair representative for his people’s welfare, Massachusetts State Rep Ryan Fattman argued that undocumented victims of rape should have not flaunted their illegal bodies anyway, or something to that effect:
When asked whether or not he would be concerned about an undocumented woman, beaten and raped, the rep. said that he was not worried about those implications.
“My thought is that if someone is here illegally, they should be afraid to come forward,” Mr. Fattman said. “If you do it the right way, you don’t have to be concerned about these things,” he said referring to obtaining legal immigration status.
Which isn’t to say that the Republicans or conservatives (whatever that title may mean these days) are the only ones that we should worry about. Despite constant soft threats made against big business, President Obama is clearly on their side when push comes to shove (notice even the dropping of Elizabeth Warren for the delegation that she is clearly gifted for). And then there’s the constant drum-beat bat bat of war. And the fact that, with the notable exception of “enhanced interrogation”, there is little differentiating the way that Obama’s administration and Bush’s administration handle the War on Terror – aka, War Plaguing Fear (TM).
So what is the point, then? As I started writing this piece, a friend asked me if I thought one could be a conservative and a Christian. Or, to put it another way, that since I believe my Christianity has led me to be a liberal, then shouldn’t it fall that all other Christians should, if they’re to be truly Christian, move to the same place I’m at. A slightly edited version of my response:
Growing up, I was very conservative. I thought it was the Christian thing to do. Anti-abortion. Business and choice help poor people. Welfare, not so much (I know from my own experience and my community. Didn’t have a clue how to help people get off welfare in areas that have no jobs, let alone living wage jobs). I voted for George W Bush because he told me he was a compassionate conservative. With the onset of war, and little appreciable care for the victims of Katrina, I understood that to be a lie. I got really behind Obama because he promised to be a smart diplomat who would pull out of war and not sell our bodies to the corporatocracy. Obviously, neither of those have panned out so well. Now, I’m starting to pull away from political labels together (I’m kind of writing right now about that) because I don’t see them to be honest.
What does it mean to be right, or left, or moderate? Seriously, what do those titles mean? Obviously, it’s not some grading scale, though we keep pretending it is. How can one person honestly say to another that he is more liberal than she is. I’ve been thinking we need a different model for a long time.
But I believe that overall I’m influenced by my eschatology. The idea of the coming and present Kingdom of God. This Kingdom, I am convinced, is not one of power, or manipulation, or sermons. But one of healing, inclusion, spiritual wholeness. One of feeding the poor, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick, freeing the captives… You know the things.
The political question for Christians, I can’t see it as being “Are we a part of this or are we not a part of this”, because we have no choice. It’s in our scripture, it’s commanded of Jesus.” The question, how I see it, is “How?”
I’m exploring the “how” right now through localism. Others through variations of capitalism, or democratic socialism, or through incarnational living (including the CCDA approach), or through this candidate or that candidate.
But I can’t see a Christianity that doesn’t ask, “How do we get involved in Christ’s Kingdom on Earth now in a way that all men and women can see and glorify God through our good works? (not through trying to enforce our standards of righteousness, which the bible would call ‘being busy-bodies.’)” Some of what we call Right Wing Christianity (I’m thinking particularly of the Fox News crowd) impresses me that they’re NOT interested in that vision. And I guess those guys frustrate me more than I should let on.
I was explaining basic politics to a family friend last night as our kids played and our Cuban dinners were getting ready. And eventually, I answered, “I’m becoming more and more frustrated by it. It’s all rigged to play like a game. It’s not a democracy in any true sense of the word. It a game. Just a silly game.”
And yet, I am addicted to this game!