It is a grave sadness in our day that Truth is obscured behind such powerful labels as "Conservative" and "Liberal", or "Republican" and "Democrat". Once these names have been fixed to a view or idea, the person behind it is lost. When people become labeled, it becomes easier to dismiss them. When we Christians start dismissing human persons, especially with secular, politically charged labels, then we have emptied the cross of its power. We encourage the party spirit that St. Paul warned us about.
The greatest tool of Satan in America is the use of the Left/Right political system to prevent people- even people with a million dear things held in common- from ever uniting, from ever becoming friends or allies. Our system of democratic elections, steered as it is by those already in power, never seem to care about Truth, only label fidelity. Persons are supposed to be lost, that is how the system works.
It seems to me that we have a nation of politicians and not statesmen. It seems to me we have a country of those adept at politics, but who care little for governance. Governing is a hard and tedious task, filled with paperwork and self-correction, meetings and mea culpas, committees and drudgery and care. Politics is loud, cheap, noisy, and so very pandering. It is a bright flash when we need a steady flame. Shock and awe when we need to be understood and challenged. But shock gets all the attention.
I feel alien to this system. For the last few years (4 to be exact) not only am I unimpressed with the State's ritual of self-glorification and self-congratulation, but I have actually become repulsed by its showmanship, its Madison Avenue self. The more prepared, slick, and rehearsed a candidate is, the faster I want to turn off the television. The snarky rebuttal, the biting quick wit, the flawless sound bite, all of it pushes me away.
"These are not men!" I want to scream, "They are the well-groomed masks that others wear, others that don't care for us to see their faces." Showmanship. Sleight of hand. The Prestige of politics.
I care deeply about this country. I care deeply about the precarious position that this administration has put Catholics in. But I cannot see my way to embracing the fake-opposite. I cannot embrace the other side because I do not believe in the other side either. But the political theater, the artificially produced, externally crafted, pro-wrestling style false dichotomy of Republican or Democrat, that's it! It is not enough for me.
I feel alienated by the two party system. I feel like I'm choosing between two types of cancer, with both being equally malignant and extremely hostile to the Gospel of life. And the best thing that anyone can say to me regarding my vote is, "Yeah, it is awful. But at least you won't have that other kind of cancer."
Hollow words, yet so many live by them. So many are shamed in order to live by them.
The hope that motivates me to put aside my sinful past every day and embrace a future without fear is not the result of clever campaign slogans. No politician can give me hope. It is a gift given by One who has faced the worst things our world has to offer, who has suffered the deepest pains and abandonment, and at the very lowest point of descent, of rejection, of emptiness, cried outwards and upwards: "Mercy."
He looks at me when I pray and speaks those words that I need to hear: "My Kingdom is not of this world. But yes, I am a King." And again, "The world will give you trouble. Take courage. For I have conquered the world."
2000... 2004... 2008... 2012... 2016... Christ remains king, and His Kingdom ain't America.