Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

The politicians up for election, how they clobber, club and crucify each other — the back room hacking, the in-your-face attacking, the under-the-table cracking, the character fracking and reputation hijacking.

Campaigns are pretty much a public brawl, in a skirt or a tie, on a hill, in a hall.

I long for something else — a quiet friend, who isn’t running for office, who isn’t telling other people off, who isn’t hiding smutty history, who has no record of groping or doping or wheeling or dealing, the wall or the hall or the floor or the ceiling.

I long for something unselfish, undivided, unbiased — something not frantic, forced, frothing, fierce.

I think of my father, now in his final years, bending over my mother in the bath, gently splashing water on her shriveled, shrunken, surgeried skin — softly, soapy sloshing what she can’t clean herself.

I think of my brother, at the City of Hope, wrist band 86, wasted wait again, the needle in the arm, the unexpected end — of work and wish and want. He will be going back to work in a few hours to make sure people are taken care of, to make sure things will be okay when he doesn’t get to go to the office anymore.

I think of my friend who lost her husband two years ago. Thirty years then gone. There she is in the therapy room after the group meeting, waiting until everyone is gone so that she can secretly pay for her disabled friend’s care, even though her own financial future isn’t certain.

Such pauses from ourselves, such thoughts of someone else, such quiet, unseen, brave campaigns — they rise up to the top and rule when all else is lost.

Such kindness as these are of great note.

Such kindnesses as these all have my vote.

Note: You can find my other modern soliloquies at  www.modernsoliloquies.com

I’ve been watching the 2016 Presidential race play out over the last few months, and it has been been eye-opening, fascinating, astonishing really, a study in some of the worst traits of human nature. I’ve have been particularly interested in how my fellow Christians have reacted, what they have been willing to support and what they have been willing to overlook.

It appears to me that there is some degree of inability to judge character well.

Politicians who show a consistent pattern of insulting others, of lying about what they have said or not said in the past, of self-aggrandizement, of greed for excessive wealth, of exploiting those they hire, of harsh judgmentalism of other races, of belittling, objectifying and misusing women, of scoffing at other’s weaknesses but of not sincerely grieving and apologizing for their own — such leaders show not merely that they fail to say the right thing; they fail to be the right person. Such failures are failures of the most profound order. They are failures of character and failure of love, and they represent the exact opposite of the character of Jesus.

Jesus consistnely maintained an opposite pattern from this, a pattern of humility, a pattern of profound respect for the weak, for the poor, for the sick, for women, for children, for the mentally disabled, for other races, even for those from other religions — such as the Samaritan woman. He was consistently kind to people who weren’t like him — except, as you may note, that Jesus was hard on leaders who were self-seeking, harsh, domineering, greedy and judgmental.

Who should we support, politically? It is challenging. It requires good discernment. But I don’t believe that it is an issue that should be decided for us by a political party, or by how we have voted in the past, or by the preassure of others who fire off their political opinions with little thought or reason. Nor should our choice be decided by our own moral weakness, by what we excuse in ourselves, or by our need for hitching our wagon to someone powerful so that we might ourselves seem to gain a little power.

I’m not sure how it all sorts out, but I am sure that Christians should not blindly support anyone with a persistently harmful character, thinking that this doesn’t matter as long as that leader advocates  something they have traditionally favored. And I am sure of this: Character matters! Whatever our political biases, we should never align ourselves with any leader whose character has a pattern that is precisely the opposite of Jesus’s.