Politics! Now there‘s a topic that few like to discuss. I’d say I don’t know why, but really I do. I used to think that Noam Chomsky, one of the greatest modern linguists alive and a great commentator on international politics (and the second most quoted source in history, after the Bible), went a bit far when he tried to point out that our television programs were ‘dumbing us down’ to the point that we would not be willing (or even able) to take on board important political topics. He wrote this when we had soaps and game shows, and chat shows for celebrities from all levels of achievement in the social sphere. Now we have ‘reality’ shows and celebrities who are famous for….. just being famous! Now I am starting to get the picture (pun unintended). I decided some years ago to ban soaps from my house as they were just ‘hotbeds of adultery’ as I told any who would listen (but that’s for another blog). However, I have had no need to ‘ban’ things like Big Brother as nobody in our house had the slightest inclination to watch those vile voyeuristic wastes of time (praise God). The soaps, at least, are tempting to get into.
For me it all seemed to coalesce into realization when I engaged in a debate over a current political topic with a workmate in an office, and a woman said “could we talk about something interesting, please?” My reply, along the lines of “what, then? Coronation Street or Big Brother?” was not received with any hint at all of my intended derision, but welcomed as really good and valid subjects to discuss! Shortly after this, in the same office, I saw a tabloid on the desk, and the front page had 90%+ devoted to the next Big Brother eviction while one little sliver of a column reported how Blair and Putin had had a public row over something vital to our relationship with Russia. This was serious worrying stuff: breakdown of understanding is what often leads to wars, people!
I grow especially weary when so many fellow believers seem to have little or no grasp of political subjects, other than gay rights, abortion, and family values (and here in Ulster, the union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – can’t forget that, can we? Can we ever? Please?). They set themselves up to be taken for a ride by any megalomaniac, power hungry, cash-grabbing warmonger, just as long as he or she is pro-life, pro-marriage and anti-gay marriage. They’ll vote for a candidate, blithely unaware that beneath the smiling exterior who supports their pet subjects, maybe even claiming they are ‘one of us’, there is a calculating capitalist bent on removing the long fought for rights and privileges of the vast majority of ‘us’ to ensure the ongoing steam roller of cash hurtles towards the mansions of the super-rich (their ‘base’ as one of them unashamedly stated).
The religious right in the US backed George W. Bush and hailed him as a hero when most historians catalogued him as the worst President ever! In the UK, we may not have a similar large vocal body or grouping like the religious right, but Christians have long sung the praises of Margaret Thatcher, with practically no understanding of where her policies came from, or what she really stood for. Stay tuned for more on that….
If we need to be aware of the world around us, and of the schemes of the Devil in this world, then we need to be aware of political complexities and subtleties – things that can creep in ‘unawares’ as many would use the old KJV word (not that I do… yet another blog). There IS more, much more to politics than stopping gays getting married (another one! – I’ll be writing here all year at this rate, and my spleen shall be sorely vented, ouch!).
Grace be with you.