Politics and religion can be a deadly mix, but the amount of negative energy being generated during this election season is staggering, and is having a detrimental effect on all of us. As a minister, and as a follower of a spiritual tradition that seeks to share love and light, I feel the need to speak to this.
It’s impossible to log into a social media feed without being assaulted by a seemingly endless barrage of lurid memes and fake news articles attacking the various POTUS candidates, especially if you’re like me, and have friends from all over the political spectrum. The amount of garbage spewed from all directions is truly amazing.
Why do you support your candidate of choice? Are you voting for someone based on his/her own merit (experience, policies, positions on issues, etc.) or are you buying into the hyperbole generated by the campaigns and the media? If you dig enough, you’ll find some pretty nasty stuff on every one of them.
To paraphrase a favorite verse of evangelical Christians, we’ve all missed the mark, sometimes pretty spectacularly. So, here’s my challenge to you and to myself:
Come up with a way to state why you support your candidate, based solely on that candidate’s positions and policy proposals or their and/or their party’s platform (which, interestingly, aren’t always the same). Not an easy task, and I’m learning that I see merit in all of them, much to my chagrin.
Here’s a way to start:
1. Figure out what issues are most important to you and your position on those issues. Which issues are deal-breakers and which can slide?
2. Go to the candidates’ Web sites and ask the same. Also, check the VP candidates. Keeping in mind that people do change their minds on things, does the candidate’s past history indicate support of their stated position? (Remember to include the so-called third party candidates. You might be surprised at what you learn.)
3. Do the same at the party Web sites. Do the platforms match, more or less? How do they differ? How are the same?
4. Compare the candidates/parties side by side.
These are just a few suggestions to help jump start the process for you. It’s hard work, but government of, for, and by we, the people needs to be a more thoughtful process than memes and sound bites.
Negativity isn’t good for anyone, and I hope this can be a help in generating some positive momentum.
May the Spirits of Air grant us wisdom to discern what is good and honorable. May the Spirits of Fire help us to burn with passion for a truly free free and just society. May the Spirits of Water bring healing and peace to our hearts and minds. May the Spirits of Earth grant us strength and solidarity of purpose. May He who is found in the joy of wild things grant us zeal for righteousness and truth, and may She who gives life to us all help us to grow in love. So mote it be.