Wow, so I can’t believe I’m really writing about politics. I hate politics, but it is an almost unavoidable topic in our world. As much as I hate politics, the decisions aren’t as cut and dried as they used to be for me. So, with that in mind, I figured I needed to work through some thought processes and figure out what I need to know.
I figured I would start with one of my biggest concerns in politics. No matter where you go, no matter who you listen to, and no matter what you read, when it comes to politics, you are going to find many who are demonizing their opponents. From the presidential race to the local city council race everyone seems to think the best way to get elected is to make their opponent look like a baby-eating, grandma-beating, evil-loving villain who is bent on not only ruling your way of life, but also on corrupting your children beyond what is repairable. Yes, this method works, as evidenced by a number of outcomes from our past election cycle, but how did we devolve to the point where this method is the most effective?
I think that, for the most part, we as a voting public are to blame. I honestly believe that most of us begin with a pre-set idea about what side of an issue we “should” be on and we go from there. Rare is the person who has grown up and come to voting age without those preconceived notions and many of us don’t dare shake those foundations. But that is what puts us exactly in the position of being a target of those demonizing political candidates. Because we don’t dare ask serious questions about why we are on a certain “side” of an issue, we don’t really want to hear from anyone who does question our position. In part, I think we are afraid that someone may have an argument that we can’t answer. But mostly, we have become too lazy to really want to learn about the other side of the issue and are comfortable with what we have always believed.
Add to the fear and laziness our lack of attention span and the candidate who tries to really focus on the issues is lost in a sea of yawning voters. Throw in the cacophony of voices shouting about how their opponent wants to steal America from you or wants to enslave you in their rigid way of doing things and the issue-focused candidate is really never heard and never remembered. It is much easier to demonize the opponent and stir up those in your own party or those with an ingrained opposing stand on the issues. Why waste time trying to educate voters who really don’t want to be educated in the first place? If you try, you will be forgotten by your supporters and remembered (complete with horns and pitchfork) by the supporters of your opponent.
I’ve personally made a commitment to never support a candidate who runs (or supports) an attack ad on their opponent. Challenge your opponent’s stated stance on the issues all you want, but you will not get my vote by demonizing your opponent. I am very thankful for the requirement that a candidate must add the “I approve” voice over to the ads run on their behalf. Makes it much easier to see who is playing fair. Also, I’ve made it a point to get informed about the issues that are important to me. I’m still working out what issues those are, and I know that sounds strange, but that is where I am. I’m going to examine my priorities as a Christian, a husband, a father, and a provider and decide what is really most important. Then I’ll review both the candidate’s record and stand on these important issues. So, I challenge you to do the same in these two areas.