Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Get an Education

The goal was simple—weed and prepare the flower beds for the winter.  It is a task I don’t mind doing as it is a solitary, quiet activity designed for an introvert—especially on a beautiful autumn day.  It was perfect . . . until the interruption.

Pulling errant grass, stubborn weeds, and flowers beyond their prime, I was well into the realm of inner peace when I saw a white pick-up truck park down the street.  An older man got out and was having a noisy conversation with someone on his cell phone.  In his hand were a lot of papers.  He looked around, spotted me on the ground, and began making his way towards me.  It wasn’t long before I could see that he was a political canvasser.  Curses, I said . . . it is an election year!

“Good morning,” I said.

“Morning,” replied the guy.

“Can I help you?”

“I was wondering if you have a few minutes to talk,” inquired the pollster.

“Who do you represent?” I asked.

“The Republicans,” answered the man with a tinge of pride in his voice and a little too much enthusiasm.

“Well, I’m a Democrat,” I quickly responded.  The truth is that I am not a Democrat, nor am I a Republican—I’m listed as an Independent when it comes to politics . . . primarily because I don’t want to get into lengthy, nasty, name-calling, finger-pointing debates over politics.  I don’t think that it is anyone’s business what my political swing might be, and I really, really cannot stand over-zealous hardliners of any persuasion who have the audacity to shatter the serene and quiet solitude of my morning.

I figured the guy would be able to take a hint that I was not in the mood for any conversations on politics and would mosey on down the road . . . but, he was a Republican.  I should have known better.

“Well, then . . . are there problems with the United States that you would like to see fixed?” asked the man.

“Plenty,” I answered, “but there are not enough hours in the day to discuss them all. I’m really not interested.”

“Just a few minutes . . .”

“Not interested.”

Angry, he turned and started walking back to his truck, but not without getting in the last word . . . “Well, I hope you get an education!” 

My response?  “You too!”  A minute later I had a whole bunch of zingers I could have said, but “you too” was the best I had at the moment because he shocked me with his rudeness.  I should have told him that that was no way to get votes . . . shouldn’t insult the hands that have the power to vote. 

Politics suck . . . and, they suck even more when they interrupt my quiet time in the beauty of a perfect autumn day. 

I guess I should have given the guy some of the things that I would like to change in the United States.  The first thing I would have told him is that I would change the Republicans . . . and, the Democrats . . . because they have come to represent everything that is nasty and ugly in politics in the way that they handle themselves.  I would have told him that I would like to see politicians sit down and actually talk to and listen to each other and work together to solve problems.  I would have told him that I would like for our elected representatives to actual represent the people and not the corporations and industries that slip them money through the back door.  I would like to see politics become more civil and to remember back to what they learned in kindergarten about having to work together to succeed for everyone.  I would like to see politicians actual live up to the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule they so adamantly say that we are missing in our nation today.  And, I would like to see a ban on weekend politicking so that those of us who are tired of all the election year noise can have a nice and quiet weekend. 

But, I imagine that the guy would have looked at me like I had been out in the sun too long.  I imagine that he would have set me straight and given me a lesson in Political Civics 101.  Give me an education.

I am not a political person.  I am not a political person for several reasons.  The first reason is because I have chosen a call in life as a minister.  A minister is often seen as a leader within the community that he or she serves.  Leaders have the ability to sway people in the directions that they go . . . even in the area of politics.  That is not my role as a minister.  Thus I keep my politics to myself and listen to all sides of the political spectrum . . . and, trust me, there are a lot more spectrums than just the Republicans and Democrats.  It is not my job to tell people how to vote as a minister.  No, it is my job to remind people to do as Jesus would do.  Last time I looked, Jesus wasn’t a Republican or a Democrat . . . pretty much an independent who stressed doing God’s will.

Another reason I am not a political person is because it seems to do more damage to relationships than other parts of our lives.  Politics strike me as a deeply personal and intense belief in most people that are usually divided into black-and-white issues . . . right-or-wrong . . . my way or the highway.  Typically there is not a whole lot of conversation or discernment based on informed research in political conversations . . . usually calls me a name, flips me off, tells me I need to get an education, and doesn’t speak to me for weeks and months on end.  I thought we were friends.

I keep my politics to myself.  It is no one’s business how I vote . . . and, I do vote.  I vote because if I chose to moan and groan about the results of an election I can at least state that I voted . . . win or lose.  If a person chooses not to vote then I believe that person has no room to complain.  As I said, I do vote.  Over the many years that I have voted some of my candidates have won, some have lost . . . and, some of my choices have been mistakes in the end.  But, it does not matter how I voted as much as it matters that I voted.  It is a right and a privilege that I honor even if it is to decide a sewer increase in the little town where I live.  It is no one’s business but my own.

Unfortunately and sadly, this post will get a rant or a rave from someone out there who disagrees with me . . . or who see this as an attack on the Republicans or Democrats . . . or as being anti-American.  So, I apologize if I have offended someone with my own little rant; but, I really do hate when politics interrupt me on a beautiful autumn day.  Don’t promise me a conversation when you already have your mind made up.  As the picture above states: “You repeat a lie often enough it becomes politics.”  Politics suck.  There has to be a better way.  Maybe that radical . . . Jesus.  Maybe we all need an education.    

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