I love politics. I love the idea of a sense of duty to our countryman. I love political biographies of relatively unknowns who helped changed the world we are in today, like Ellen Maury Slayden. I have the History Channel feature of The President’s on DVD, and was my daughters first favorite show. And above all, The West Wing is my all-time favorite show.
But in the last year or so I have come to a decision. I cannot comment on political issues on Facebook, you won’t see a political rant on The Bad at Cleaning Blog, and very, very, very rarely will I engage in a political conversation anymore.
Because talking about politics is toxic to my health.
It’s like the stomach flu. It comes out of no where, seemingly innocent sandwich or conversation, and before I know it I am a step away from hell and can’t control what is coming out of my mouth. After all is said and done, I am curled up on the floor regretting my whole life.
Extreme? Yes. But that’s truth of the emotional and spiritual affect politics has on me.
Does this make me a unengaged, self-centered, uneducated millennial? No. I still am educated. I am still engaging in the world around me in my own way…through voting, quietly supporting my key causes, etc. But no, I am not screaming my beliefs at the top of my lungs anymore.
Even engaging in a political conversation with a friend over coffee is choppy waters. The temptation is too high for me. What is the temptation?
To be the worst Christian in the world, that’s what.
I get judgmental. Oh, so much judgment oozing all over the place! I have to struggle immediately to hold back a tone dripping with condescension. I am no longer loving. And boy, does it take me a long time to forgive.
I once thought I could just get my act together and all would be fine. It just took a little control. I have tried, and tried again. Each time I fail. I still fail, even when words don’t even come out of my mouth. I am already judging you. I promise.
The thing is, the whole Republicans vs. Democrats is so very polarized. Any conversation involving those two words ends up being a BS party line or some sort of animosity involved. Even if we are in the same party. But that’s not real life. Real life is not hating the other guy just because they think differently than you (or it shouldn’t be). Real life is a series of experiences and knowledge that come together to help you figure out what’s best for your family, your life, and then you go vote your conscience or work to make legislation to help or fix a situation. It’s not them vs. us. But unfortunately, that’s what every political conversation seems to boil down to. From some of the books I am reading, it hasn’t changed since the United States started.
My husband is the opposite political party than me. It took us years to realize that in the end we really had the same political beliefs, but we just wanted to go about achieving them differently. After that, and many reminders of that, we can talk about politics without my head exploding…too much.
But that’s not what happens when I talk with anyone else. No matter how much they assure you they are open to opposing views, lets face it, they are not. To be honest, I am not either. Politics is personal. It deals with almost every aspect of your life from religion, your home, your money, your children’s education, your heath, etc. Maybe some people manage to not take it personal. I admire them. That’s not me.
Like an alcoholic, I can’t just have one drink. I can’t just have a conversation about opposing political views. I can’t just click on a link to an article that the title seems biased or concerning to me. I have to watch myself. I have to only read the news from certain outlets, and when I am in the right frame of mind. I need to be on guard and I need to be held accountable.
Because I really don’t want to hate you.
I want to be a loving person. I want to be a good example of a Christian, not a cliche one…especially towards other Christians. And having a “light-hearted” conversation about politics is not the way for me to accomplish those goals.
If I can’t go into the conversation coming out still loving the person, I don’t want to have that conversation. I don’t always get that option, but it still would be nice. And 99.999999% of the time you don’t have to have that political conversation, so I avoid them. Why argue and get upset over nothing?
Everyone has their own strengths, and everyone has their weaknesses. This is my own weakness. This is where I ride off the rails in peace and sanity.
This is my temptation.