Friday, October 3, 2008

Broken on the Political Front

As I listen in on the political front I have decided that something is deeply broken in me.

I don’t trust leadership right now - church or state. The hurts of the church have gone deeper than religion. They effect how I view the world and thusly how I view men and women in the world that want to be my political leaders. Ms. Palin might be a very wonderful woman....but I have seen very wonderful women do very horrible things to protect the things that are valuable to them. Mr. Obama might be a captivating speaker but I have sat under captivating speakers before who spoke what turned out to be outright lies.

I wasn’t always this way. I trusted the government to take care of my family when I was a child - my dad was in the military. This breeds a deep trust in your government. I trusted my church and their teachings growing up through my teens and 20’s. That was destroyed but I just thought I had bought into the wrong brand. So I trusted again. I trusted our ‘church’s’ leaders. I trusted their teachings, their vision and their professed love for me, my family and our ‘church’ body. That did not work out so well…

I have seen firsthand what the desire for power and prestige does to a person. Heck, it just occurred to me that I have been that person. It is not so very far away to the core of who I am.

You take a man (or woman) add power, throw in a bunch of money and prestige, shake, and I am left with the bitter drink of distrust.

So I think that is why I am having such a hard time. I believe no one. I trust no organization. I can’t even start to believe that what they say now really reflects what they will do later or what they even believe in their hearts. Sound bites do not reveal the heart and motives. I want to believe them as I hear them speak…but something in me warns me again that I cannot always trust what I see. Great orators have deceived men for ages.

Add that to the fact that I don’t believe that I can start to understand the world in such a way that I could make informed decisions on the basis of my present knowledge - as limited as that is. Our world is too complex. When you think you understand and grasp an issue - there is a corresponding result in another quadrant that you didn’t even see. I don’t have the time to become a political science major. And even if I were an expert in a field such as that or economics or government - who’s to say I would have been taught a true and balanced perspective?

I understand why someone would be a one issue voter - whether it be abortion or the environment or health. Please don’t make fun of these people. Maybe that is all they have confidence in their own intellect for.

I know who I’m voting for. It’s not that. It is just that I don’t trust them, or anyone, anymore. And I really don’t like that about myself.

This is going to be a long few weeks for me.


Anonymous said...

Many people feel this way - we are losing our soul as a country. We have forgotten everything that made us(USA)great. WE need to vote and recently for me it has always been the lesser of two evils. Nobody at the national level (politics, country, chruch) seems to understand the evil at work in the world. So lets bury our heads, Vote, and pray for the best?

Heidi said...

I hear you, Barb. I'm going to vote, but I don't trust either party or candidate right now. It is the lesser of true evils. There's a part of me that doesn't want to vote, a couple months ago was even considering not voting...but enough has happened that "lesser evil" doesn't scare me quite as much as the "greater evil." :-P But like you...I certainly don't expect any extraordinary good to happen either way. :-P

Sue said...

I don't necessarily think your lack of trust is a bad thing, Barbara. I mean, for mine, it doesn't matter how good or bad certain people are, because as soon as they get placed in the machine, they seem to become powerless to do very much anyway.

Which may sound fatalistic or pessimistic but from my point of view, it's just realistic.

Lita Wright said...

I definately understand what you are saying and I agree with you totaly. I just wonder if others find themselves in the same place as I am, I don't really trust anyone anymore and this saddens me. I guess when you have seen and been touched by the worst, it is hard to dare to believe the best.

Sarah said...

This election season has been difficult for me as issues of loyalty surfaced (to family, to tradition, etc). I had to pray a lot! I have had some time available for research, and try to find a variety of sources - since that's really the only way to hear a balanced assessment (the nice thing about academics is they tend to like to point out the flaws of each others' arguments - which can result in iron sharpening iron.)

But, I still feel constrained by time and other responsibilities to research into every issue that I'd like to. I *do* recommend prayer for wisdom though. I decided I wouldn't vote in this election (since I was so conflicted) unless I heard God's perspective, and how He sees it all. Ultimately, He's the only Teacher we can trust. And He's promised to lead and guide us.

Tyler Dawn said...

Oh honey, I understand, and so often I just find myself saying, "I cannot vote in support of THAT," and so I hold my nose and do the only thing I can, which is hope that the person i vote for will make good decisions. I sure don't trust the media or what they say about anything, and we have reached a very dangerous time in our country, as the media has unabashedly and openly taken sides (of course, this has been true for a long time but they no longer try to hide it) and that makes it even harder to tell what the truth is.

There is no longer any way to make an informed decision. At this point, all i can do is try to hold back those things which i believe are truly evil and weep for the rest that I just cannot address either politically or personally.

To be a one issue voter, for my part, is just an expression of humility because I have come to the inescapable conclusion that I am being lied to BY EVERYONE and therefore cannot be well-informed (and feel that it is arrogance to believe otherwise), but at least I can hold to my convictions about a few things.

It is heartbreaking, for certain. We are left supporting evil and lies, no matter what we do.

Abortion vs torture -- what do you choose? How do you choose? what am I supposed to do?

I no longer know. though I have chosen against the side I believe does the most damage to the most innocent. But it is evil that we have to make such choices at all.

Mary said...

What you are describing matches my experience. I too have grown distrustful of people. However, I think this is healthy. John 2:23-25 describes Jesus as not trusting people. He knew what was in them. He knew they were human beings and thus limited in their abilities to be totally trustworthy, just as we cannot be perfectly trustworthy all the time. Our trust is to be in God. This brings freedom.

As believers, being not of this world, we view the political and religious systems as what they really are... man-made. We are not meant to trust them. Viewing this world's systems and people in right perspective helps me trust God more confidently.

Ruth said...

"stuff I used to believe but don't anymore" LOL!!!

I love that label.

So things just aren't black and white are they? What I have learned from that is to rest in the fact that God is to be trusted and that he is in control apart from the people who are placed in authority for a time.

You are so right Barb that humans, especially those in power, are capable of corruption. We are too far away from the situation to truly make a difference or be a judge, so don't sweat it.

Sarah said...

Wow, Mary's answer was brilliant. Thanks, Mary! Right on, Sister! :)

Anonymous said...

Barb, I understand your viewpoint. What many followers of Jesus in the USA have lost is the understanding that the Lord of this universe is Jesus. No political party, no politician (human), political system will ever lead us to utopia, no matter what they may say. Theses are all as broken as the rest of creation.

I am looking forward to the appearance of the Lord of the universe and his redemption of his creation. This is our hope in times of despair!

In the interim, we do all we can show in our own lives, individually and collectively, what that kingdom will be like when it comes in its fullness.

Malcolm said...

Barb, I am new to your blog, but as I have read through some of your blog posts... one of the things I have gotten is distrust in many different areas.

As somebody that has struggled with distrust in many different areas of my life as well, there is one thing that has gotten me through these times... that verse is 1 Corinthians 2:5... "that your faith might not rest on man's wisdom, but God's power."

I too do not who to trust and somebody that was at the epicenter of the "conservative right's" and evangelical un-righteous relationship during the last election cycle... I too have been hurt by lies... have seen the Republican party AND the Democratic party hijack and corrupt well meaning ministers and servants of the Gospel led astray by lies, deception and false promises. Then the churches are left to pick up the pieces from those lies.

But again, what gets me through those hard times and disappointment in the leaders/ friends that have hurt me the most is 1 Corinthians 2:5."that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but God's power."


Sarah said...

Thought others might be interested in this independent organization that supports civic duty and has provided a fact-checking website that holds both campaigns accountable on many, many ads and statements. Breezing through how many mischaracterizations are made on both sides, it's easy to see why we are all so disillusioned and distrusting. Here's the site:

Sarah said...

Oh ya, I forgot to mention it, but it seems as though everyone assumes that Roe v Wade will be overturned if they vote for McCain. This doesn't seem possible since Polesi is Speaker of the House, and even the most optimistic Republican strategists expect to lose even more seats to Democrats this election. So, if the one issue people choose to vote on is abortion (and they abhor McCain's other positions), then I think they will be sorely, sorely disappointed.

I've often wondered if we pro-lifers are just being used. After looking at the history of the anti-abortion movement and its tentative relationship with the Republican party - the party has let us down and not delivered on so many fronts of the fight against abortion ("Faith in the Halls of Power: the Evangelical Rise to Power" covers this). Is it possible that Republicans understand overturning
Roe v Wade would actually weaken them? They would no longer have this loyal base without this one sure issue... It's just a thought...

Unknown said...

To choose the lesser of two evils is to choose evil.

God has never given that choice to His children.

a brother

Tyler Dawn said...

Sarah, I don't believe, at this point, that anyone believes that the republicans will ovreturn Roe vs Wade. When they had control of most everything they still couldn't do it. However, I cannot support a platform that revolves around upholding it either.

Nor can I sit and do nothing, as I had briefly considered. The Lord showed me the error of what I was about to do in a dream a few months ago. If we do not participate, then we have no voice against evil at all. Can you imagine what this country, and others, would be if all those who love Jesus did absolutely nothing? Not that I think you are suggesting that at all, although Adam might be, I am not certain.

Overturning Roe vs Wade would not weaken the Republicans, there are stil too many other issues out there and people would still vote out of fear that abortion would once again be legalised.

I don't know, it is an ugly situation -- party politics make it impossible to get to the truth of anything, or to get anything real done without too much contamination!

Anonymous said...

Werd to Mary -- I agree completely!

A lack of trust is often perceived as something negative; i.e. as having "trust issues", which may or may not be true.

Having worked through my many "trust issues", I still don't trust. More accurately, having worked through the pain of my past, I've come to realize that I do trust. My trust in people is that they are human and my trust in God is that he is the great I AM!

On a simple level, I liken trust to that of driving a car on a busy highway. My trust in people is called, defensive driving. My trust in God is called, GPS.

DomHyo said...

I am on the same page. I have no idea who to vote for right now as both have issues that I disagree with, and the thing that most bothers me is in the christian community to just automatically vote for the Republican "christian" candidate. They look at any other as leading the way towards or as the anti Christ. Wasn't Bush a "christian" president? I'm not questioning anybody's faith but that line of thinking is just so annoying.

But I can definitely feel you on the trust thing.

God bless

Sarah said...

Tyler, just wanted to say thanks for disagreeing so graciously! :) Political discussions can get dicey. But this one is going really well I think.

I can relate to 3d's questions/frustrations. I have looked more at the candidates personal lives this time around, and it's not the Republican candidate that shows the best in terms of my Christian values (besides the abortion issue). Anger and temperment problems, divorce, adultary and notorious womanizing, conflicts of interest ethically with the Keating 5 - it's a long list, frankly. According to blogger Kansas Bob, the Obamas gave over 5% of their income to charity while the McCains gave .02%. Obama says he believes in Jesus Christ, McCain says he takes comfort in "a higher power." Obviously, I don't know how to interpret Obama's statements as they seem to conflict with his stance on abortion. But I'm really surprised how many believers support McCain as a "Christian" candidate. ??? It's confusing, and I'm not sure how they arrive at that conclusion.

Tyler Dawn said...

Hi Susan, disagreeing with me is no longer the capitol offense it once was so I no longer have the stomach to be cruel over politics lol

To be honest, all those things you mentioned about McCain, with the exception of the anger (which I am not in a position to judge anyone on, believe you me!) were so long ago in his past (and admitted through his own writings) that I cannot sit in judgement over his current character based upon them. He takes full blame for the divorce, which was 30+ years ago and divorce to me is no longer something I judge someone over. I just can't. The Keating thing, well, the Keatings were friends of his wife's family and mistakes were made, long ago, but not as many as have been claimed.

I could make a long list about Obama too, but I won't. I wouldn't feel comfortable doing so, it seems like we can all make lists when we want to. I don't want to anymore, I really prefer to be an edifying voice and the Lord has made it clear that listing a person's faults (real or perceived) is no longer my job (too bad, I used to be really good at it! rofl). Now, I just pray about it and ask God to guide me -- because we only know what the press wants us to know I can't go by anything except the guidance of God anymore. And in my spirit, I have one candidate I can vote for, and one that I have severe misgivings about. I won't defend my position, or attack anyone else's. I have grown tired of the politics as usual mandate of propping up one guy and bringing down another. They both have a lot of things in the "con" category, but I just can't focus myself there anymore. At the end of the day, I really have to feel that I voted for the one who I felt the most peace about in my spirit. If I go about it logically, then I am assuming I am well-informed, which I don't believe anyone is anymore. We listen to lies and we decide to believe some of them based upon what we desire to be true, or by who is the most eloquent, and I am just not wanting to fool myself anymore.

It's become a monster, that's for certin! I am tired of dancing with it -- always stepping on my feet ;) and elbowing everyone else on the floor as well.

Barb said...

Wow, I love all the comments. This is what I would love to do...Sit down with the bunch of you and just talk. To discuss the value of not trusting, to challenge the idea that there really is organizations out there that are ballanced. To encourage each other to hear another view point. But to do all of this in a spirit of friendship. Maybe it is possible. I would love for it to be. I think the worst thing is to hear the tone of "you are an idiot" in someone's voice when they are disagreeing with you. They may not say it but at that point I am done discussing.

In so many ways it is like discussing things with my old church. You were an idiot if you did not see things the way they preached.

So thank you for the discussion here this week. While I agree with some and disagree with others - none of you are idiots for what you believe.

Sarah said...

Thanks, Barb (and Tyler). That's exactly it. I think that believers can come to different conclusions and it doesn't make one smarter than the other, or one more spiritual than the other. :)