I am disheartened.
Not about the absolute refusal of winter to leave Colorado. Nor am I disheartened for not having tickets to the upcoming Justin Bieber concert in Denver. If I did have tickets, then my daughter (who does have tickets) would be disheartened for my being there at the same time.
I am disheartened by the current state of our politics, particularly our political discourse.
No one is surprised when politicians think and act politically. No one is surprised that pundits and commentators are intentionally harsh around the edges of an issue. That’s what gets them attention and air time. Name-calling, shout outs, and shout downs. I’m told it’s “entertaining” television.
Well, I for one, am not entertained by it. Did I mention I am disheartened?
I’m not disheartened because political action figures stake out divisive positions. I’m disheartened because of the lack of civility that has crept (or flooded) into everyday conversations, in person but especially online.
When it comes to a political conversation in 2016, there’s is nothing social about social media. Unless you consider harassing and belittling another person or an entire class of people to be a form of socially acceptable behavior. It wasn’t socially acceptable around the dinner table I ate at as a child.
Whatever happened to the idea of “we can disagree without being disagreeable?” Did it fall out of fashion along with wingtips and Brylcreem?
This lack of civility is found on both sides and anyone who tries to convince you otherwise is simply not being honest. But this is where the pastor in me comes out. I am not surprised whenever a non-Christian acts like a non-Christian. However, and this is a big however, I do expect those who claim to follow Jesus to make some attempt to walk in his steps.
And this includes how we refer to those we disagree with. Did Jesus ever use harsh language? You probably know the answer and it should unsettle you a bit. His harshest language was always reserved for the hyper-religious who were unbending in their positions, even when those positions did more harm than good. In today’s environment, that would be equally true of those on the left and right who are so convinced of their correctness that they believe it gives them a license to be mean and nasty.
News Flash: It doesn’t.
So … with all that in mind, I’m passing along a fantastic article by Jonathan Martin that was actually written in the fall of 2015 (imagine what he would have to work with if he were writing the article today!). It’s entitled “The Politics of Demonization.”