Posted by: ritagone | October 3, 2012

No News is Good News

I’ve made a vow that until the election, I have removed myself from watching or listening to almost every political discussion on television or in writing.

I say “almost” because I think at this point – today – I will watch the presidential and vice-presidential debates which start tonight, October 3, but I’m not even 100% sure of that decision.

Why?

Because I’m fed up with the negativity.  I’m tired of turning on the television and within 15 seconds knowing someone’s political persuasion based on the words coming out of his or her mouth.  That’s how biased the rhetoric is on both sides.

The other day I was reading a marvelous article that captured exactly what I feel, and I hope the author won’t mind if I quote from his writing here in my blog.  It’s an article by Bryan Roberts that appeared September 4, 2012 in Relevant Magazine, and in it Roberts says the following, in part:

 

“Political discourse is the Las Vegas of Christianity—the environment in which our sin is excused. Hate is winked at, fear is perpetuated and strife is applauded. Go wild, Christ-follower. Your words have no consequences here. Jesus doesn’t live in Vegas.

IT’S TIME WE TALK POLITICS IN A WAY THAT MODELS THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS RATHER THAN MOCKS THEM.

Not only are believers excused for their political indiscretions, but they are often applauded for committing them. Slander is explained away as righteous anger; winning arguments are esteemed higher than truthful ones (whether or not the “facts” align); and those who stir up dissension are given the pulpit. So I balk when pastors tell me the Church should engage in the political process. Why would we do that? The political process is dirty and broken and far from Jesus. Paranoia and vitriol are hardly attractive accessories for the bride of Christ.

Rather than engage in the political process, Christians have a duty to elevate it. Like any other sin, we are called to stand above the partisan dissension and demonstrate a better way. Should we have an opinion? Yes. Should we care about our country? Yes. Should we vote? Yes. But it’s time we talk politics in a way that models the teachings of Jesus rather than mocks them.”

 

Now, here’s some truth I can really get behind, because I agree with every word Mr. Roberts has written in this article.

Everywhere I go, people are polarized.  In fact, I haven’t heard that word – polarized – so much in one year as this year.  It has become the mantra for what’s gone on and what’s going on all around us.

And I don’t like it.

I don’t like the fact that a benign conversation with friends soon turns into an argument, and an argument escalates into a diatribe, and a diatribe turns into a rant.

No Republican is good, no Democrat is evil.  Or no Democrat is good, no Republican is evil.  Take your pick.  Either way, we all know deep in our hearts that that’s not really the way the world operates.  Why have we thrown reason and sanity out?  Where have the grace and mercy that Jesus told us should and could mark us as His followers vanished to?  And more importantly, why are we not desperately concerned about getting them back?  Why are we more concerned with being right, with being on the right political side of the fence?

I’m not saying that it doesn’t matter who wins the election, because surely there will be ramifications one way or another.  But I refuse to accept the fact that there are no good people voting the opposite of the way I vote.  That there are no intelligent people voting for the other candidate.  Because I know it just isn’t true.

And the saddest reality of all, as Mr. Roberts points out, is that often Christians are the guiltiest people of all, excusing their vitriole in so many ways that they make grifters look naïve.  I’m ashamed too often to be calling them my “tribe.”

So I watch the talking heads and the debaters and the screamers and the “I’m so sure I’m right” people on television, and I can feel my blood pressure going higher and higher.

And for what?

I know who I’m going to vote for, and nothing by now is going to persuade me to vote otherwise.  So what’s the point?  Do I really want to punish myself with all the hostility and aggressive assault on the cable news channels?

I don’t think so.

So I’m fasting.

I’m taking a break from cable channel news shows until after November’s election.  And so far, I haven’t missed them one iota.

I’ll watch new series on the air and my old favorites, and a few HBO shows that I got addicted to last season.  And “Homeland” is back for its second season, and that’s enough thrills for me, thank you very much.

“The rest,” as a famous Dane once said, “is silence.”

 

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Responses

  1. Amen Rita and thank you!


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