Every election year I find myself getting more and more frustrated, not about candidates, propositions or bills, but with myself. I sometimes wonder what happened to my good old partisan self. Voting used to be far easier for me than it is today. Talking politics was simpler when all I needed to truly frame a discussion or understand who I was talking to, was to know the party they claimed.
A certain colored animal symbol summed up all of my political philosophy in those days and voting was more like a junior high test that I could pencil through in minutes with one letter, R or D. I didn’t need to study issues, listen to speeches, hear both sides, watch debates etc .I just needed my partisan voter guide.
Those days are long gone, now I am hopelessly lost in the quagmire of political concern and the passionate but perplexing process of discernment. In my 40s I’ve got too many intelligent, faith-oriented, diverse friends to be hoodwinked with stereotype driven marketing. I’ve got a world of information, opposing views, a social network of ideas, voices and rebuttals that won’t allow me to silence dissent and wisdom.
So, as I sift through the emails sent from concerned Christians about the destruction of America and the unraveling of the moral fabric of society or the slick and emotive videos subsidized by rich liberal ideologues I find myself in the tortured place of the libertarianism. Like a victim tied limb to limb to various horses about to bolt off into different directions, I find the pull upon my inner sanity about to snap.
This place if a difficult zone to dwell and sometimes I just want to go back to politics as usual for me. But I can’t, I am too far down the rabbit hole to go back. I’ve been unplugged, born out of the dream world and have to face the cold, stark reality of the thinking persons fate. I have to work at this thing called democracy.
Here’s the religious philosophy that governs my political philosophy: free will.
“Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy,” Revelations 22:11
Ultimately, before God, you are responsible for you and I am responsible for me. I am supposed to live in such a way that I offer the same rights, opportunities and responsibilities to others that I desire for myself.
We both have the right to be wrong.
We both have the freedom of choice and bear the consequences upon ourselves and others and will ultimately be held accountable to God who is the one and only all seeing and all knowing judge. I truly believe he is coming and that I have a responsibility to learn, live and obey his teaching based on the beauty and truth that it brings into my own life and extends to those around me and according to the knowledge that I will give an account of my life before his throne of judgment.
“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying,” Revelations 22:12
The city of God I live within and invite other’s to enter is a city with all gates open. Anyone may come through the grace and forgiveness of Christ and the repentance of faith.
“The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost,” Revelations 22:17
This theological perspective roots eternity in the choices and responsibilities of personhood and the exercise of free will. It requires that I extend freedom to others, even when I would rather control them. It means I believe more in the way God has ordered the universe than in humanity’s attempts to be god.
The older I get, the more I believe in the truth reflected in our founding documents, not as a God inspired, but as a tool to live as a blessed people in this nation.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” -The Declaration of Independence.
This independence lies at the root of my convictions about politics, faith and freedom and it governs how I vote and how we were founded as a nation.