Tamára Lunardo

Author & Editor

Tuesday

2

November 2010

9

COMMENTS

The Marriage of Church and State: Part 2, The State

Written by , Posted in faith, life, Uncategorized

I wish I were only kidding, but honest to God, there are campaign signs posted around my town that say, “R U Fed Up Yet?” That a person running for political office would approve a sign bearing text messaging lingo is so alarming to me, I can only respond, “WTF.” And you would think– you would sincerely hope– that that would be the worst of it, but if you’ve been paying any attention at all this election season, you know it actually gets worse.

We’ve all seen the mud-slung ads; we’ve all been besieged by imploring phone calls. But to me the worst of it is the insidious appeals to conscience, particularly to the Christian conscience. From mailers that boast photos of candidates building houses for the underprivileged (I’m pretty sure their left hands are well aware of what their right hands are up to)  to online videos calling for the voting of “righteous” candidates (I could’ve sworn there was no one who was righteous, not even one), the message is clear: If you are a good or godly person, you will vote their way.

And really, it’s quite clever. Republicans and Democrats alike have become masters at appealing to morality to guilt people into voting along tight party lines. If your heart is inclined to value life before birth, traditional marriage, and financial conservatism, the Republicans have an in. If your heart is inclined to value life after birth, love in all forms, and financial generosity, the Democrats have theirs. Party propagators have done a brilliant job of grouping certain issues and then polarizing the groups so that most voters can mindlessly choose a side. There’s no real need to think much when your heart is already coerced.

But what if we ignored the prescribed groups? What if the people who valued life fought against both epidemics of abortion and war? What if the people who valued marriage fought against both rampant divorce and discrimination? What if the people who valued financial responsibility fought for conservatism that enabled generosity? What would that mean for the candidates who wanted to represent us?

Surely, it would make their jobs harder. Harder to build platforms to stand on, harder to run win-able campaigns. But maybe if the people of the Church demanded more from the people of the State, there would be less need for politicians to push such an unhealthy marriage.

Today I’m going to vote, but not along any imposed line and not with a coerced conscience. Because yes, I am fed up yet. Are you?

  • http://www.lucaslagoons.com Barbara Luehring

    And what if we asked each and every one the same question. How? How do you plan to balance a budget, or prevent unwanted pregnancies, or stop a war, (we don’t have to ask how, if it is to start a war–they all seem to know how to do that). The how is the thing–the thing I have not heard–unless it is reduced to platitude form–like reducing waste, or cutting spending, or just saying no–and the real how would be the real thing that would let us discover that simple answers are not thoughtful answers–and perhaps that is what I am looking for–and whom I could vote for–the thoughtful person–I have my lamp and I am looking–are you?

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      I love the idea of demanding “how” and not accepting platitudes as real answers.

  • Stephanie H

    I couldn’t be more fed up. We have an ad here in TN that has been run talking about one of the candidates “holding a gun in his mouth for 3 hours”. Thank you for that bit of information, really, because that is what is going to make me worry about whether or not they understand what’s going on with our budget or our schools. Surely no one has ever been intelligent or successful that has dealt with issues of depression or had suicidal thoughts.

    I have always been surprised by asking the question “Why” when talking about who people are voting for. Why? Because MTV’s stars are voting for them? Because Oprah is? Because they’re the last name you heard on the television before you went out the door? I have always voted based on specific issues that are important to ME. Does it mean that I have voted for Republicans? Yes. Democrats? Yes. Independents? Yes. Why? Because I EDUCATED myself on first what was important to me. I discovered what I was most passionate about. Then I EDUCATED myself on what was important to those running. What was beyond the slogan and beyond the pictures. People educate themselves before they buy a car. Or a tv. Or find a Doctor. WHY don’t they educated themselves on the people they’re trusting to run our nation?

  • Mom

    Ooh, very insightful and interesting Tamara. Thanks.

  • Sarah

    I still remember the day I realized I could be a pro-lifer who cared about the environment. Revolutionary!

  • Lisa

    Great post Tamara. I agree with every word!

    Lisa

  • http://www.inamirrordimly.com ed cyzewski

    So long as we have a 24-hour media machine that thrives on over-simplification and controversy, these categories and groups will be hard to overcome. As much as I resist labels, I still feel them being stuck on me. It makes me wonder how actively I should be seeking alternative ways to accomplish things outside of politics vs. trying to work within the existing system. Ya know?

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      Interesting perspective– thanks.

  • http://agiftuniverse.blogspot.com Sheila

    I know this is an old post (I just found you and am enjoying your blog a lot!) but I just wanted to say I completely agree. I respect life before and after birth, so where does that leave me? I believe in my freedom to choose my own destiny; I also believe in Iraqis’ and Afghanis’ freedom to choose theirs. Is there a party that will support that? Worse still, is there one (as Barbara says above) who knows how to achieve that? And even worse, is there such a party that stands a chance at success?

    (When voting, I leave off that last question … I won’t vote anything I don’t believe in just because I don’t think I can get what I actually want. Because politicians have been throwing bones to us for a long time, counting on our vote simply because they know we have so few viable options. Not playing that game.)

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