Who here is sick of politics? Can I see a show of hands? Unanimous? I thought so.
One of the nice things about traveling to a foreign country is that you can forget for a few weeks the utter depravity that is our current political climate. But alas, that freedom ended the minute I touched down in Dallas and found myself seeing CNN on the TVs and thinking, “Oh no! I was happy! Why did we come back?!?”
We are at the stage now where, short of one of the candidates painting a swastika on their chest and announcing he’s going to gas his opponents, politically involved people will not budge over who they will ultimately vote for. But that won’t stop the raging from polluting everything from Facebook to the major networks.
It’s funny how the raging, what we call “political commentary”, spikes during the time that opinion is least likely to be swayed by reason. Not that we have to worry about reason when “War against Women” is the rallying cry of the Left and “the cure to what ails the world is democracy” is the siren call of the Right. And the rest of us vote based on which party we think will do the least damage. Now there’s a motivator.
What happened? How did the country that produced the Declaration of Independence and the Federalist Papers devolve into Jon Stewart and Glenn Beck? How is it that the Onion is more accurate about the news than those organizations that supposedly report it? Why do political debates resemble more Jerry Springer than Lincoln-Douglas?
It’s all just so…..shallow. Some of the most important decisions we make as a society depend on our involvement in politics yet our thinking and attitudes resemble how a mean version of Napoleon Dynamite would approach the subject. And for people like me who get drawn to arguments like moths to a flame, this time of year is a giant near occasion of sin.
Honestly, I think that somewhere along the way politics became less about ordering a society rooted in the truth and more about how we want a society to be ordered. Our politics resemble less what is good for the country and more about how we would benefit from a particular party. This is why “issues” dominate the political landscape rather than philosophies. Who has time to develop a consistent political philosophy? The economy is terrible!
Here’s how I think we go to this point. From the staunchest Catholic to the most hardened atheist (it’s a false polarity, but bear with me) somewhere along the way it seeped into our minds that truth really is relative. That the important things are not truth and beauty, but power. People do not seek out what is right but simply the power to make their desires become “reality.”
The problem with the relativist mindset, besides being flat-out wrong, is that the world has this tendency to remind you that you are not the center of the universe. A man who believes he is the center of the universe is like a man in an Armani suit with a “Please mug me” sign on his chest. And the world will remind you who is REALLY in charge.
The only real distinction between two relativists is who has the power to dominate the other. This is why our culture obsesses about things like the economy (money) and politics. Two sides of the same coin. It is all about power. It is about having the power to protect ourselves from a hostile world that seeks to dominate us, without realizing that we simply play right into its hands.
As Catholics we know better than this. We know there is truth. There is One Way, One Truth, One Life. We know that Truth is real, and we embrace it. We know that life is not about achieving power or wealth, but salvation by cooperating with God’s grace. Our country, our world needs that message now more than ever.
The real way to change the world is to live out lives according to Christ. He who had every right to the power of this world, choose the Cross as His throne. His life and teaching point us higher than the current obsessions we revolve our lives around.
So let’s live our lives as if we actually believed it — especially in our political lives. Let’s be involved, but not so that we look desperate to put the slightly lesser of two evils in power. Vote in accordance with our Faith, not the political calculus that says we must align with lesser evils so that we hope something good might happen.
When you go to vote this November, remember that there is a real choice. Not between the Republicrats or the Demolicans. But between our world and the Kingdom of God. God willing our allegiance will reflect our true party affiliation. The Party of the Divine Monarchy.