My Political Platform

I’ll be gone next Sunday to spend most of a week in Arkansas with my parents. I leave the Thursday after Election Day, and I can assure you that date was chosen with care. I didn't want to be gone on Tuesday because I want to vote (yes, I know I could have voted early, but I kinda enjoy the whole go to the polls thing). And I surely didn't want to go BEFORE the election because I want to enjoy a nice visit with my parents without having to wrangle over politics. My folks are both Tea Party conservatives who have always suspected that Ronald Reagan was a bit liberal. And I tend to be a moderate Contrapublicrate— I tend to take the other side in political debates and believe that most political issues are far more complex and nuanced than most people in our two-party system would be willing to admit. So what are my political views on universal health care, job creation, legalization of drugs, gun control, the war in Afghanistan, and the like? Well, that depends on what you think-- I probably think the other.  I'm kidding, mostly, but this political ideology does view fit my personality!

My real political ideology is one of SUSPICION. Politics is ultimately about POWER. I suspect that most politicians, not matter why they may have entered public service, pretty much get addicted to the acquisition and wielding of power. I believe both current candidates for president are more committed to power than to any real ideological agenda and have changed their views enough to warrant such a conclusion. We do need to have a political leader, and since we get to participate choosing that leader, we need to do the best job we can.  But I think the rise of a political leader, whether by election or coronation, always carries with it the warning Samuel gave to Israel when they insisted in having a king—

The king will draft your sons and assign them to his chariots and his charioteers, making them run before his chariots…. He will take away the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his own officials. He will take a tenth of your grain and your grape harvest and distribute it among his officers and attendants… He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you will be his slaves. When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but then the Lord will not help you.” (1 Samuel 8:11-18, NLT) 

Politics is about power.  There will be consequences anytime you give that power to anyone, no matter how benign or beneficent they may claim to be.

Jesus commands us to serve one another in humility, and this requires that we avoid the use of power (see Matt 20:25-28). The exercising of authority over others is part of the kingdom of man, but Jesus expressly says that it is not part of the kingdom of God. We are to be last and the servant of others (and thus follow Jesus), and that means we should be skeptical of power and therefore of politics. The only participation in the government of man that is specifically mentioned in the New Testament is that of respecting our political leaders, praying for them and paying our taxes. Our democratic form of government gives us the right to participate in the choosing our leader: our Christian faith gives us the responsibility to respect and pray for them. Perhaps if we did more of the latter, the former would not be so divisive for us.

Will I vote in this upcoming election? Sure, I always do. Do I think my vote will make as big a difference in the world as will my prayers? Not a chance. Personally, I’d feel a whole lot better if we received calls during dinner from urging us to pray rather than from people telling us how to vote. But that's just me; I'm a committed Contrapublicrate.