Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Political Saviors and Their Communicants

A man who “cannot win” beats out Hillary to become our 45th President. Many of her supporters go into psychotic meltdown and begin crowding mental health facilities? Why?

People criticize President Trump and, without a single moment of reflection and consideration, are mindlessly obliterated by many of his defenders. Why?

Lord Acton wrote, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Being elected to political office doesn’t sanctify the office holder. On the contrary: the office tends to corrupt the official. However, and this is more to my point, it also tends to corrupt us.  One of the ways it does so is by an admiration that morphs into personality-worship where people make politicians out to be saviors.

I saw this with Reagan. While I believe he was a great President, I was appalled with those who sat back and relaxed, because “Ronnie has saved us.” How did that work out? It didn’t. Why? Because there are, ultimately, no political saviors: there are no politicians, laws, regulations, policies, or executive orders that will change our culture, in the long run. Anyone who thinks otherwise is in for severe disillusionment.

Sure. Support whomever you think has some solutions to our nation’s problems. Be politically active. However, exalting Hillary, Trump, or any other politician to the status of a messiah is shortsighted and nothing short of idolatry.  

Tellingly, many of the political savior’s communicants, as with those who thought Ronnie saved us, opt out of any sense of responsibility for actually doing the hard work of engaging others in thoughtful debate.

Not me, Wilson. I continue the Good Fight! Right: on Facebook, where, just as you do, those who disagree with you either hide or ignore your posts.

For the most part, changing minds only takes place relationally. This requires humility, patience, empathy, and even – horror of horrors - the willingness to be wrong. It also requires intelligence, not talking points, logic, historical analysis, and so forth. I am not suggesting you need to be Socrates, but it would help if you have actually studied the best arguments on the other side of the issues you advocate. But there is something else even more important.

It is not simply minds we need to be concerned with: it is with souls.

For Christians, our primary mission in life is to declare and demonstrate the love of God as incarnated in Jesus Christ, and to make disciples of all nations. Again, this is something that takes place on a relational basis, and also takes patience, empathy, and wisdom.

The question for my Christian readers is this:  how many people are in your relational world with whom you argue over politicians and politics but with whom you have yet to share your faith?

What does it tell us about where our “faith” is focused when we are more passionate about politics than we are about our love for God and others? When I am willing to go all Tongue Fu for my political stands but not for my faith and Christ appointed mission, it tells me that my heart and head still need some major work.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2018

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