“I hate politics.” I can’t begin to say how many times I have heard that around campus throughout this election season. Don’t let me be a hypocrite; I have said it just as many times! Why would anyone care about politics?
Anything political, one might say, is bias, fake, divisive, and just not going anywhere. I don’t blame Christians for wanting to stay out of politics, seeing as we are looked at by the general population with having hate toward the LGBT community, hate toward women having abortions and an unidentified hate for the president. While these opinions about the American church are off (for some maybe not… scary), I’m worried that the American church isn’t doing its part in setting the record straight. Why isn’t the church doing more? For one, the church is unified enough to combat such thinking. Also, and more importantly, I think it’s because ignorance is becoming the American way.
Coming out of the cafeteria one day I hear a man say “Free T-Shirt!” and like any college student, when hearing the word ‘free’, I swarmed like a fly to the light. I went over and told him my size with way too much excitement. The man had to be laughing so hard on the inside about the giddiness of the adult man for a 100% cotton shirt.
I’m embarrassed to look back on that moment, not because I was excited about a shirt but because I played into ignorance. I didn’t even realize what group he was from. He began to talk about how this group is organizing to bring liberty back to the people, which sounds odd since I never felt like I lost it to begin with. However, what he failed to say was that they were seeking to do that mainly by repealing the Healthcare reform, which I’m for. To get the truth of what the group is for, I had to read the literature he handed me because he was saying nothing new. Needless to say, that t-shirt doesn’t belong to me anymore. I had let this man pull me in a cheap way and if I didn’t have any prior knowledge of this group, I would have been a billboard for them.
How dehumanizing, manipulative, and arrogant political groups and politicians can be! I’m not talking about one specific side because both Republican and Democrat alike are guilty of this. Don’t get me wrong I believe politics are necessary for the advancement of peace and justice. However, how long will we live in ignorance? What I mean is you need to care enough about politics to research it out and not accept the ads, free pass outs, and biased information. It is easy to be ignorant, but that is not want America should be. We are to be integrated in discussion about political issues. It may be awkward to disagree but that is the way it is going to be, especially for the church.
I grew up in a church that was pretty conservative (go figure!), but my family was more inline with working class Democrats. For me, it was hard to grow up on both ends of the spectrum. I have gone from a hardcore conservative to a tree hugging liberal. I have come to realize that I decided my political siding on the opinions of others. I was blindly forced to be one or the other.
I started to question, why do I need to take a side? What’s the big deal with political parties anyway? So I decided to be neither. Yes, I may seem liberal to some and conservative to others, but I will never become part of a political party because that’s the freedom I have as an American. However, this does not mean that I don’t participate in political talks or elections. I have actually learned more without being politically affiliated to one party.
The point I’m getting at is that we all, even in the church, need to do our own individual research from many sources and actually talk about how we see the world. We can’t just sit back and vote our party, because that means nothing. Political parties mean nothing but an easy vote for the politician. That’s a joke. This is the reason I vote. I vote to show I care about my country, not a party. Each party has its time and place and so does my vote. If you are going to vote along party lines because you haven’t done your research, you shouldn’t be voting. All you are doing is playing into the party scheme to bring empowerment to one side.
Tom Shaub is a junior Bible and Theology major.