I’ll say it: I’m more than confused in this election cycle. It is a circus with two candidates that carry with them a boatload of issues. In our journey to home, I am not seeking to get us sidetracked by political debate. Rather, I want to use the subject of politics to challenge us in the way we communicate with each other.
A few weeks ago CSPAN was running the presidential debates from 2000 between then Governor George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore. The forum was respectful and focused on issues. There were a few jabs at each other but the discussion was informative, clearly expressing how each candidate would handle various situations regarding the economy, foreign policy, defense and more. After listening for a while I would gladly vote for either of these two folks over the choice I have this November.
What we have today is a media war meant at tearing down, ridiculing and destroying the opponent. It makes me think of the old adage,”If you can’t say something nice about someone then don’t say anything at all.” If we were to employ this philosophy to our present political discourse, the airwaves would go silent.
Shouldn’t we try to build up the nation? Shouldn’t we address the issues that are weighing us down and inspire people to a higher life rather than the lowest common denominator? I refuse to comment on the election or politics in social media. I have opinions but this cycle is drawing out the worst of humanity and I refuse to enter that discussion. I will vote. I will have personal conversations but I don’t think our political problems will be solved in 140 characters. And they certainly won’t be solved by simply throwing verbal bombs aimed at defaming the character of the other side.
St. Paul the Apostle offers this instruction which is helpful for every person regardless of your religious convictions:
“Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
True, Honorable, Just, Pure, Lovely, Commendable, Excellent: Think on these things.
If we could import this into the political process what a different world it would be. I know there are serious problems. I see the injustice, the violence, racism, poverty and pain. We need solutions and strategies that will move us forward to see this nation and the world become a better place. We are not going to get there calling each other names and dragging down the debate. We get there when our vision is higher and aspires to greater things. So today, my encouragement to you, is to let your conversation be gracious. Let your words be uplifting, even inspiring. We are on this road together. May our shared journey to home be one that brings encouragement and speaks to the best not the worst in each of us.
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