The Politics of Death in Light of Paris

Politics are great. And by great, of course I mean that they are not great at all. At least, not at good things.

Politics are great at starting arguments, polarizing groups of people, and generally just hurting feelings.

The oft-quoted Benjamin Franklin is reported to have said that it is not proper to discuss either religion or politics in polite company. I can’t verify this quote, but I have found an equally reliable source on the matter: Linus Van Pelt.

There are three things that I've learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin. Linus Van Pelt, peanuts, charles schulzAt any rate, it doesn’t make for friendly banter. Politics are messy, and come with deeply held convictions that, when threatened, turn ugly.

I can’t say that I’ve particularly enjoyed this upcoming presidential election as of yet. Being generally a conservative person, the Republican primaries are of particular interest (and particular disgust) to me. It’s been bad, but yesterday, I think I’ve finally had enough.

Following the terrorist attacks on Paris, I am disgusted to see that some candidates (most notably, Donald Trump) using the event as a platform. Maybe it wasn’t Trump personally. But the man has no class, and neither do most of his supporters. That was made even more evident as the discussions turned toward his stance on immigration reform, and also his recent quote that we ought to “bomb the shit” out of ISIS.

Can we not just let a tragedy be a tragedy? Do we have to make it about immigration reform, gun control, or whatever else? Horrible people did horrible things in Paris. Thousands of people are mourning the loss of someone who was personally dear to them. People lost sons and daughters, fathers and son, friends, cousins, and neighbors, but before the bodies are even cold, they have been dehumanized by the masses and objectified into a cause.

Does immigration reform need to happen? To some degree, I’m sure that it does. Do we need to piggyback such ideas on the senseless murder of over a hundred people? Never!

There are three things that I’ve learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin. (Click to Tweet)

To be clear, I’m not saying that we should never discuss politics. I am also not saying that we should never discuss religion. Quite the contrary, I think such discussions can be riveting, and they are necessary if we are going to be real with each other. We will share things that matter to us, whether it is spiritual, secular, political, or philosophical.

However, these discussions must be done with tact and decency. Inflammatory speech must be far from our lips if we ever expect to have healthy disagreements.

In all things, be nice!

Linus may not have it all right, but in light of the treatment he received for his beliefs, I can understand how he got there.

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  1. Pingback: Christ and the Promise of Division - Ryan Saffer

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