Political divisions

With the election approaching there’s so much blame, brokenness and back biting going on. I want to see us rise above our tribalism and stop drawing borders, putting up barriers and entrenching division, and set our eyes on the Kingdom of God, the bigger picture, building each other up beyond our families, our localities, our race, our country. We’re all ‘us’, but we’re tearing ourselves apart – we need to pull together.

Labels

Politics is divisive, and it always will be as none of us hold exactly the same views. But none of us are going to have it completely right either, no matter how much we believe our beliefs. We’re not God! I think we could get a lot further by putting down our labels for a moment, listening to each others’ views on particular issues and letting ourselves be challenged. They may not be right, but they might well have some good points we need to address in our own thinking, and perhaps a sensible conversation coming from the starting assumption that each has good intentions might bring us all iteratively closer to real solutions to our problems, rather than just letting a shouting match entrench us all into our separate, separating ideologies. The moments I’ve seen this happen in discussions recently have been really encouraging and genuinely fascinating!

Character attacks

I’ve seen politics descend into attacks on/ scaremongering about individual politicians. Politicians are just as human as we are just as human as they are. Some are better human beings than others, but none will ever be perfect. We could find dirt on even the person we most respect if we looked. We don’t need to look for it or advertise it if someone is being publicly despicable. Whoever gets voted in, they’ll turn out to be neither the devil nor the saviour of the world, and we’ll still be dealing with an imperfect human being who we don’t entirely agree with for the next five years. So vote with integrity based on what you believe is best, not just for a personality, and be prepared to campaign for your case for the next five years between elections too, which will mean engaging with them as people. Let the politicians just be who they are.

Blame

There’s a popular (tongue-in-cheek) meme going round at present, supposedly telling you, for the Right-wing parties, who to vote for based on who you blame for everything. It’s meant as an exaggeration I’m sure, but the reality is actually worse. I’ve had leaflets through from right across the political spectrum, and I’m seeing blame statements in pretty much all of them. Blame the government. Blame the bankers. Blame the previous government. Blame immigrants. Blame benefit cheats. Blame the rich. Etc. Why do we need to base our political decisions on blame? Of course if we’re going to tackle a problem we need to tackle its root causes as well as its symptoms, but blame is childish when we could be taking the more mature approach of looking at expert research on the evidence to identify the causes and solutions instead. Blame just sets us against one another, and alienates the very people we need on board with making things better.

Patriotism

And then we get the classic division coming up; ‘our’ country vs the rest of the world. Borders are artificial. Everyone is human, and none of us chose here we were born. No country exists in a vacuum, unaffected by or unaffecting others, and it wouldn’t be a good thing if that was ever achieved. We don’t need to set ourselves up against other countries to make our own successful. If we consider the world as a whole interconnected society and worked on making it fairer and more pleasant for everyone, regardless of their location, we’d all be a lot freer and a lot safer.

I’m praying a lot at present for this election and for politics in general, for an outbreak of border-crossing love and compassion, and an end to negative politics, divisiveness, scaremongering and scapegoating.

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