Social media interaction can be revealing.
I retweeted a tweet by a friend – an observation about the tendency of Christians to justify any failures on “our side” (politically) by pointing out that “their side” is worse. The nearly immediate and sadly predictable response was that this man (a rock-solid conservative) must be a Hillary supporter. Naturally, if you are not 100% in support of the GOP and everything they do, you are a Democrat-lover!
I have watched the response to a tweet I sent out a while back with some amusement.
Trump. Comey. Russia. Schumer. Pelosi. Ryan. Impeachment. Wikileaks. Hollywood. CNN. Fox. I am SO over all of this and it is Trump’s 4th month of a 4 YEAR term.
My point was simple – I’m sick of it all. The news. The bickering. The pettiness. These last four months have been tempestuous, to say the least, and assuming the Pelosicrats don’t get their way, there are 44 months left, and perhaps another 48 after that.
Several people agreed with me – there is a great deal of politico-weariness out there. We are tired of slanted news, fake news, screeching politicians, and chattering talking heads. But I received some other responses, telling responses. “It’s THEM!” The fault never lies with us but always with them. CNN and MSNBC are slanted – FOX is “fair and balanced.” (I have a few friends who feel exactly the opposite, of course. Hillary is a hero. CNN is fair. Fox is faux.) Trump has been relentlessly attacked. Yes, he has, but he’s been a pretty relentless attacker, too, has he not?
But the most interesting response I got came from a man who told me to put on my “big boy pants” because there are “things worth fighting for” and if I’m not willing to fight I must not believe that. I was fairly stunned at that response. Unless I believe that the GOP is fully right and give my blind and unquestioning allegiance, then I am a moral and political coward not willing to stand for truth, justice, and the American Way!
Those are but two examples of a common issue I see in political discourse today. All middle ground has vanished. The American political system has devolved into extremes. “If you are not for me, you are against me.” Moderation is ridiculed as weakness (and in the SBC, no one wants to be labeled moderate, right?) – everything is 100% yes or 100% no. All trace of nuance or subtlety is gone. The other side never has a legitimate point. We do political discussions with sledgehammers now. Or nuclear warheads?
I am disgusted with a lot of what I have seen from the Republican party in recent years. I registered as a Republican when I turned 18 and have been a loyal voter since. After this last political season, I came to believe this party no longer represented what I believe (in its practice more than its platform) and I have declared myself an independent.
I was called, regularly, a Hillary-lover. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have a visceral and probably sinful reaction to the very sight of her on TV or in print. But the all-or-nothing mentality of modern politics dominates. Nuclear politics. If I don’t love her opponent then I must secretly support her!
I have a nuanced view of Donald Trump that is totally unacceptable to people on both sides. I did not and still would not vote for him, based on his character, his morality, his imperial tendencies, and his egotism. On the other hand, I think he has done some good things. Pence. Gorsuch. He has had some legislative initiatives I support and am happy about. He is neither all good nor all bad. I like some things and I don’t like some other things. Why does it infuriate EVERYONE when you either do not love everything about a politician or hate everything about him?
I maintain that in the fallen world of secular politics there is little but gray area. There is almost nothing of value in the abortion-loving, perversion-promoting Democratic party, but the hypocrisy, compromise, and cowardice so prevalent in the GOP make it hard for me to feel good aligning with them. I just do not trust them anymore.
Words fail in describing how little desire I have to enter an in-depth political discussion, though I realize that such are inevitable after a post like this. My intent is to stay out of them. I have a simple point in this piece, one that I have failed miserably in making with many folks. There are nuanced and subtle positions between the political poles. One can appreciate some things about Trump and be offended by others without being a Hillary supporter! The failure to jump on the culture warrior bandwagon is not, I believe, a sign of moral cowardice or hidden leftist leanings. It is often a strategic decision about evangelism, discipleship, and the purpose of the church.
There are many who want to drive people to the poles in any discussion, and I believe it is usually an unhealthy impulse. Both cage-stage Calvinists and the virulent anti-Calvinists want to frame that discussion as if there are only two positions. Us against them. But in reality there are a host of positions along the continuum and most of us are neither “fivers” or “antis.” Politics are not black and white. The GOP is not made up of a bunch of Jesus-loving folks who want to restore “America’s Godly Heritage” and not all Democrats want to destroy everything good in America. I realize it is easier to frame arguments if we drive everyone to the poles and allow only two options. But it is not intellectually honest or fair.
There are nuanced and subtle positions between the poles. One can appreciate some things about Trump and be offended by others without being a Hillary supporter! It is possible for a Bible-believing, Jesus-loving Christian to believe that a Democrat has a position that is preferable to a Republicans! Our caricatures of untarnished heroes and unvarnished villains seldom fit reality.
I am going to continue to occupy and argue for the middle ground on many issues. I realize that many of you are going to continue to deny it exists and call it weakness.
Maybe we can have a nuanced discussion about it?