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 . . .”
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.