Monday, June 01, 2009

My only pro-life thought for the moment

I know if I shoot my mouth (fingers?) off now or ever I'll regret it, so I'm just going to say this, and I've said essentially the same thing before:

Be motivated by love.

Because a lot of people aren't. It's obviously when they have a gun in their hand. It's not as obvious when they have a keyboard. I see a lot of people on both sides of every issue who are clearly more driven by anger than they are by love. This is not in response really even to the assassination of George Tiller (though that is the catalyst), but to everything I've been observing from reading blogs and books and articles about politics lately. I think both sides of most debates are driven by anger right now--Republicans more so than they once were, and the Democrats less, but both more than I in good conscience can claim any identity with. I think party affiliation is probably necessary for some people in order for parties to exist and in order for our government to function, but I can't be a part of it. That doesn't mean I don't vote, obviously, it just means I can't be a part of the machinery that drives the system. Some people can. More power to them. But that in the end is why I feel political involvement is un-Christian--not because any particular position of either party is antithetical to my beliefs (though some of both parties are), but because I don't think I could be a member of either one and still fulfill the commandment to love. At times I am not sure if anyone else can either. I am not sure how anyone can claim any political affiliation and be active in a political party or political movement and still fulfill the qualifications of love not to keep a record of wrongs or to rejoice in evil (the evil of the other side being necessary to fuel the rhetoric of one's own, it seems). To say nothing of words like hatred, rage, and hell (specifically, that certain people should go there) that are thrown about with no regard to how arrogant and toxic those words are.

Even such extreme rhetoric aside, is there any room for the kind of love Jesus and Paul talk about in partisan politics? Is there any way around this dilemma? And understand, as always, I'm not saying I'm an exemplary person, spiritually or otherwise, and this may merely be an excuse for my political indifference at the moment, but the more I think about it, the truer it seems. When I get into political debates, I don't feel any better--in fact, I feel horrible about myself, even if I'm convinced I'm right--and it makes me a crankier person toward those in my life whom I love, let alone the people I'm debating. So I have to hold myself back. And I wonder if other people should too. Because if Jesus is right and the commandment not to kill extends to the anger we have toward others, then aren't we all left holding the gun?

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