It’s inevitable. Four years ago, Barack Obama defeated John McCain by 7 points, and that was considered a landslide. This year’s election will be much closer, and there is even the possibility that President Obama and Mitt Romney could split the popular vote and the electoral college.
Unfortunately, politics tends to bring out the worst in us.
For the last dozen years I’ve lived in Washington, D.C., working as a political analyst, covering candidates and elections. Our nation’s capitol gets a bad rap for dysfunctional government, gridlock, and a former mayor who hasn’t presided over the city in over a decade, but it’s not such a bad place to raise a family.
For my job, I’ve interviewed hundreds of candidates running for office — some good, some bad, most of them ugly. And there have been some memorable moments, such as ten years ago when an unknown state senator from Illinois came by to talk about his run for the U.S. Senate.
It would be easy to become jaded after being bombarded with spin and talking points day after day for over a decade, but I’ve come to appreciate the tension between Republicans and Democrats. I think it’s healthy that we have two major parties with two very different visions for our country.
But I also see a big problem: the rhetoric.
Today, it’s not enough to disagree with someone over taxes or abortion, marriage or foreign policy. The arguments have become deeply personal. It is now apparently necessary to attack an ideological foe as a lying, greedy, and Godless sack of horse manure who has turned their back on America.
But this behavior isn’t limited to politicians, party strategists, and cable news shows, it happens online and offline, on Facebook and even in the Church.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35
For some reason, many Christians believe their right to advocate political views is exempt from Jesus’ command to love one another. Again, I’m not saying everyone needs to agree or that believers should remove themselves from the political world (which I think is impossible anyway), but I do believe many Christians need to rethink the tone of our political discussions.
The aftermath of a close and contentious election is a prime opportunity for Christians to exemplify a new type of politics- not a specific ideology but a different kind of conversation.
Don’t miss it.
Nathan Gonzales ‘00
Deputy Editor, The Rothenberg Political Report
Founder & Publisher, PoliticsinStereo.com
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