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The Divided Punch Bowl

In waking memory I do not recall a time when the country has been so divided on an election.  Sure 2008 was a critical year for the division and positioning of the two parties of politics.  Yet four years ago no one really knew what was at stake in the country.  The issues were so clouded by questions of candidate origin, who was the strongest woman in politics, and was Palin really that crazy.  The real problems of the country had yet to boil over and simmer to their concentrated potency.  Four years later after tumultuous job loss, an economy in its death throes desperately trying to fight its way back to life, and a world cultural climate fraught with change and uncertainty, we are left with a sticky mess of concern that clings to everything we hear and see in the media.  Thus our country has become divided by which party will lead us back to where we were.

That is where we see the problem that belies our country.  We are voting on party, not on the platform or on candidate.  We have lost sight of what the real issues are in America because we are being force fed the diet of the two parties that hold sway in politics.  Oh make no mistake both sides have issues that they highlight.  They have holdouts of the past that they clutch in their hands as if life itself would cease were these issues not on the forefront of concern.  And yet the solutions they offer lack fundamental elements, mostly in that they are not solutions, rather bandaids to fit the current social media blitz of emotion.  The amount of ignorance on actual candidate’s stance is staggering.  It is not the fault of the populace, it is the fault, and purposeful fault at that, of the party that endorses the candidate.  For some reason we have bought into the idea that one man can represent every one of their party’s ideas and policies.  If you have ever read either party’s platform you quickly realize that someone who could represent every one of these things is probably not someone who you want to be around very much. 

This is where the problem in our country increases exponentially, because it should never be a matter of electing a party for president.  Why would I say such a thing?  Because there is no way one party can represent you personally and individually.  It is such a social improbability that it begs the question of possibility.  It also should cause one to pause and ponder, are you supporting a candidate (presidential or any kind) because of what their supporting party is telling you, or because what you really believe?  The line between cultic fanaticism and party politics is closer than you may want to admit.  But what is at stake this election year?

If you have watched the party conventions on television you have seen the themes, carefully laid out and coached in speeches written by party approved speech writers.  Each side has taken the time to make sure that each speaker is in line with what the party has deemed appropriate (with the exception of Clint Eastwood, I have no idea what that was).  The lines have been drawn, you can choose the Republican way, or the Democrat way.  It is a choice that reaches far beyond a convention and boils down to a much more serious concoction of class warfare.  It is the middle class versus the upper class, conservative and liberal no longer serves as comfortable rhetoric.  Sure there are other issues in there, other seasonings if you will.  But no matter how we try to sweeten it the taste is just awful.  Why?  Why do we have to take such sides and draw lines in such a way?  Why must we take on the attitude of if you are not for us you are against us?  With so much at stake in this election, that being the direction our country goes on many fronts, our political leanings cannot be forced into a tiny box of party platforms.  The social, economical, financial, diplomatic, and medical issues facing this country cannot be solved by one party alone.  The taste is bad because there are no easy answers.  The medicine this country needs, the only tonic that will heal, is hard to swallow, and I do not think we actually possess the formula for such a drug.

Despite what may be preached on Sunday mornings at some churches this is not a choice between what is Christian right and damnation wrong.  It just is not that simple.  The reason for that is that neither party fully represents a biblical way of life.  Now I am sure that this may outrage you, but if you really and truly study what Jesus’ teachings were you will see what I am talking about.  However that doesn’t mean that this election should be about the lesser of two evils either.  Rather it has to boil down to what you as an individual believes.  Do you believe that your candidate can properly do the job required to the absolute best of their ability?  Do you believe that they can properly execute the office with the greater good in mind regardless of party lines?  In the end that is what we are faced with, the choice that best suites every single one of us to some degree.  You cannot decide for someone else, and you cannot force your opinion through social media.

My fear for this country through this election is that the rift between us will only grow deeper and more dangerous.  It has happened before, we called it the Civil War (in the south of course it was the War of Northern Aggression).  The worse the rhetoric gets, the worse the rift will become because our journalism cannot be trusted as a source of fact.  So I am left asking, is the American citizen strong enough to stand alone and make an educated decision based on their individual ideals and values, or are we simply drinking deeply the punch put out by our chosen party?

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