The politics of me
The politics of me is another perplexing layer in an already bizarre election season. It works like this---
1. Many people don't have one.
This is the group I'll call the "man pleasers". They haven't read any documents
or histories, haven't consulted the information super-highway, and haven't
given any thought to the candidates, party platforms, or the issues of this
election. They don't have a "politics of me" because all they can do is reflect
what someone else is thinking and saying. They're generally approval addicts
who rely on others to drive their life train every day. If they are confessing
believers they should read Galatians 1:10.
2. Many people are absorbed by theirs.
This is the group I'll call "lovers of self" (see 2 Timothy 3:2). They're so
enamored of their own brilliance they can't see the value of others in making
their political or election decisions. They've installed self-defined blocking
software to protect themselves from the influence of the people around them.
Their input mechanisms are on shut-down, even to the whole counsel of God.
But, self-absorbed people don't need God all that much anyway.
And, of course, the politics of self matters, in both extremes. Two directions inform this thought. One, our founders established a government based on the simple concept of "we the people". Every single American citizen was to matter in this experiment. Yes, we struggled in our founding years with defining citizenship and granting the franchise to minorities, including our women. But, eventually we recognized the folly of this prejudicial stance and corrected our errors. At the beginning, however, there was the expectation that every American would matter in our political process and every American would be informed enough to do so. The "politics of me" would be a foundation of our political system.
Excursus: Our Founders also warned about factions, especially the influence of
property owners and religion. Many uneducated Americans were dependent on
the landed citizens and church leaders for their information about governance,
elections, and political matters. Federalist 9 and 10, thought to be written by
Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, addressed the influence of
factions and how they would affect the "politics of me" the American electoral
processes. That is to say the complications of not having a "politics of me" was
envisioned by the Founders.
The other extreme was equally significant in the formation of our government, the Constitution that we eventually approved in 1787, and the electoral processes that would guide us even until today. Our Founders envisioned a city on a hill, a nation of "we the people" established as an example to all of the people of the world. What we take for granted, this "we the people" governance, was a genuine milestone in the rule of nations. It had not been done. As a result, others were a signal element in their design, a nation of "we" rather than a nation of "me". Each of us would possess a "politics of me", my own personal take of the political leanings of the times. But, that "politics of me" would be surrendered to a greater good, the "politics of we", what was best for the whole. it was a radical thought, especially for government.
And, so, here we are so many years later, with the "politics of me" echoing the selfish inclinations of depraved humanity---the need for the approval of others, or the reign of self, both dangerous, sinful behaviors. Somewhere in the process, each of us must grapple with the issues and decide what our particular bent will be: a reflection of what others are thinking because we want their approval, a hardhearted and close minded self absorption that will not pray and think through the issues, or a "we the people" stance that will open us to the needs and influence of the world around us.
Here's what I'm praying right now---
Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end. Give me
understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct
me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward
your statutes and not toward selfish gain.
Psalm 119:33-36, ESV
Praying for His guidance in the politics of me, and how to use it for the politics of we.