Angelic Political Opponents

These days in politics, there is a tendency to demonize people who hold opposing political views from our own. I feel so strongly about my candidate, I can’t imagine how people can support the other party’s candidate. There are enormous flaws with the other candidate that they either explain away double talk away or deny. They are dead wrong, it seems to me. So there is a strong temptation in me to denounce the people themselves who support the other guy. To make them into demons.

I have a highly successful friend who supports the other guy. My friend is a devout Christian, as I am. He was mentoring a young African-American man through the church. After his daughter grew up and moved out of home, he adopted a young Chinese boy with a cleft palate. Then he adopted two more Chinese girls. This guy is rich, so the children from China came into a good home. He has a friend who is a surgeon. The doctor performed multiple surgeries on the palate of the young Chinese boy. The wife of my friend told me one night that she felt bad because the doctor wouldn’t take any pay for performing the surgeries. That doctor one night gave me an Allman Brothers double-album CD and a Los Lonely Boys CD. My friend always gave me discounts on the products he sold because 1) he wanted to keep my business; and 2) he knew I was poor. He always treated me familiarly and with respect. When I self-produced a CD of my original music, he sold them in his store.

By every metric of a man, my friend is exemplary. And yet I am tempted to hate him because of his political allegiances. Can you imagine! Is that what this age has come to? I don’t think it’s just me. I really need to remind myself of the character of my friend, because I keep manufacturing bad reasons why he is supporting the other political candidate. He and I used to be able to debate our opposing political positions. We cannot, now. But I do need to remember he is a friend. And an angel on earth.

When Politics Used to Bore Me

Politics used to bore me.  In the past, I would rather watch old, mediocre movies like, “I Killed Rasputin” than listen to presidents or congresspersons hold forth on public policy.  Now, however, I find politics more entertaining even than good movies.  I have MSNBC on all the time, and am thoroughly entertained.  Politics in the Trump era is a real reality show that is more riveting than those reality shows drummed up by Hollywood.

Trouble is, I watch with a kind of unholy glee.  I like MSNBC because of their relentless Trump bashing.  Deserved.  All that MSNBC televises are facts that Trump himself utters, his tweets, his spoken word, his policies.  Trump calls this “fake news,” but his own tweets and speech are there to read or hear.  But it is not my best trait to loiter amid disgust and revulsion over Trump.

I long for those days when politics bored me.  I look forward to a new congress and a new president who will occupy their time and energy with the public good.  I want a president I won’t have to listen to because I trust his or her integrity, applaud their vision, and have confidence that they are serving the public good according to their own vision.

Family and Ideology

I understand when parents are proud of their children.  I understand that having children feels like a blessing (and at times, I know, a curse?).  But where I am not living, I am witnessing something very strange, something intangible, something in the air.  I understand that parents are proud of their children.  But what does it mean when parents are proud that they have children?  Proud to be a family unit.  Proud of family as an ideology.

I had heard about “family values,” as a catch-phrase associated with right-wing politics.  I am now seeing what that means.  It is a pride that they have a family, that they are part of the “family values” ideology.

In Biblical times, having children took away the “reproach” of  barrenness for women.  Men wanted children to help with work and to inherit their wealth.  There was also an element of ancestor worship.  God tells Moses that He is “the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and Jacob.”  Children had pride and reverence for their parents, grandparents, ancestors.

But that is not contemporary pride in having a family.  I love my parents, and my brothers and sisters.  But I’ve never thought that I was proud to be a family unit.  Family values strange as an ideology.  It’s almost a destruction of the innocence of children, when children are viewed as part of a political ideal.  It’s almost a corruption of bonds of love, when love becomes pride.

I am now witnessing something very strange in this family values, something intangible, something unsettling.