I do not like to keep posting on the same subject two days in a row. I like to mix it up, but yesterday Henry Neufeld linked to my post on town hall meetings, protests, and tone-deaf politicians. In expressing his thoughts Henry basically gets to the main point of what I was attempting to say. He writes, I have been repeatedly amazed by the extent to which both sides of many debates are completely oblivious to the ways in which they use one another’s arguments each time the roles are reversed.
He states further, ...I think a corollary to this, is that politicians and voters in general really love an ad hominem approach to the political debate. We believe what people say if they’re on our side. We smear groups with the actions of some. The tea party protesters are smeared because some participants cross a line, as they did in Jacksonville, but ACORN is smeared because some people that they hire cut corners and engage in fraud.... My suggestion here is that a debate that so constantly turns to an ad hominem approach can hardly be expected to produce rational results. That’s the trouble with our alternatives. I would gladly vote the Democrats out of office, but then the Republicans would take over. I would gladly vote the Republicans out of office, but then the Democrats would (and have) taken over.
I concur. It seems as if each side imposes a certain ethical standard on the other, but refuses to apply that same standard to their own. The culture of corruption only refers to the other party; only the other side politicizes (whatever that means) an event; only the other side practices the politics of fear; and only the other side tells lies and misrepresents the facts. It is this context of demagoguery and finger pointing that will not, as Henry notes, "produce rational results."
The larger concern for myself as a Christian is that we disciples draw up lines along the same polarizing positions and accuse each other of the same thing. That brings back to my mind what I have stated before on this blog-- we Christians in the West have lost the primary role of the church as that which practices the politics of witness, and instead have substituted the politics of serving in Caesar's court. Both left and right have fallen into the latter trap. Indeed, if it were not for our Constantinian leanings the church would not even know the politics of left and right. Such a distinction would be nonsensical.
Whether Henry would agree with everything I just said, I do not know, but thanks to him for succinctly getting to the heart of the problem we face in political debate in our country.
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Cross-Posted at RedBlueChristian