Must Everything Be Political: What Happened to Right vs Wrong?

So it’s come to this—what we eat, where we eat, what we buy, who we buy it from, where we shop, what we watch on television or at the movies, where we pray, if we pray, who our friends are, whether we even do our job; every damn thing we do has to be political? Good God, it’s exhausting! A corn dog is not just a fun snack any more, it’s a way to fire back at the oppressive goal of Obamacare…a healthier America! Gay marriage opponents eat at Chick-fil-A, shop at Hobby Lobby, or order Papa John’s Pizza based on religious grounds? Really? This is what we have become?political_abyss

A government official in Kentucky, not to mention certain political candidates for president of the United States, feel that they are above the laws that the Supreme Court decides as adhering or not adhering to the basis of all U.S. law–the U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court is the institution defined by our Constitution as the ultimate authority on all laws that originate in the Constitution…but if you don’t like the law you can just ignore it under the auspices of religion?

There are even studies published in The Economist that show that there are now [political rage buying habits] conservative and liberal preferences for which beer and groceries they choose to purchase. And the problem gets even deeper… “‘I believe in science” didn’t used to be fighting words, and there are now political fights over the most basic of issues, like whether a woman “getting raped is bad.” For crying out loud, have Americans gone completely stupid just from politics?

Anyone believing there is neither a liberal America nor a conservative America, but a United States of America is delusional…it’s bullshit, because there are people who no longer believe in what is reality based strictly on their political bent.

Pope Francis has received a lot of criticism from conservatives for indulging in supposedly political issues during his time as pope. One congressman — Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), a Catholic himself —proudly proclaimed he would boycott Francis’s speech to Congress, because the pope has pleaded with the world to take global warming seriously.

But the pope’s defenders argue he’s really just making a stand for moral issues. The fact is, we are in a weird place in U.S. history when the following things are considered political even when promulgated by the recognized leader of one of the U.S.’s largest Christian religions:

  • Caring for the marginalized and the poor. When the hell did that become a political issue rather than a moral issue?
  • Advancing economic opportunity for all. Politics or human decency?
  • Serving as good stewards of the environment so that our children and their children will have clean air and water. That’s not political, that’s perpetuating the species for gosh sakes.
  • Protecting religious minorities and promoting religious freedom for EVERYONE in the country.
  • Welcoming [and] integrating immigrants and refugees globally. Everyone in the United States except truly Native Americans who were here before the United States became a country are born of immigrants. But now wall-building and deportations is a hotly contested political argument.

Honestly, I don’t know what Americans, regardless of political party affiliation, expect to hear from a religious organization’s leader, the Pope of the Catholic Church no less, other than to protect those who need help, or to aid refugees who have no place to go because of war and violence and terrorism. How did these acts of human decency and universal truths–that we should be good and kind to others who have less than we have–become the stuff of political, rather than humanitarian, dogma? We all know what is right and what is wrong, even if we’ve been convinced to bury it under an avalanche of conflicting political dogmatism.

We have a statue that is supposed to be the symbol of what used to be one of our finest most respected qualities as a nation–to give shelter to those who don’t have it. What the hell happened to us that a large swath of the country now feels that instead of open arms that welcome all that are oppressed, we need a wall that would dwarf the Great wall of China just to keep these same people out?

We have flooded the country with so many personal weapons of mass destruction that much of that same swatch of the country feels we have to live in armored bunkers and defy the good will and good works that religions hold as tantamount because their savior did exactly that. How did it become that the same people who were taught each Sunday that it’s godly to turn the other cheek, now feels it’s godly to shoot anybody that cuts them off in traffic?!

I’m no religious expert, but I think these “good works and good will towards our fellow man” were the teachings in the Bible of Jesus. They’re the words of the pope, they’re the stated beliefs and feelings of this and previous presidents. How did paranoia, greed and buffoonery get such a foothold in the same group of people who were taught to love, honor, and respect all lving things?

People who find themselves contradicting that message should consult a mirror, and see what, not who, is staring back at them, because it seems to me like they’ve lost all traces of their humanity.

Whatever your religion, or whatever your personal belief system, if you find yourself believing that we as a country should abandon those ideals, how in the world can you consider yourself a clear-thinking, non-psychopathic American?

And in a world in which the parties are becoming increasingly partisan and just about everything — from Cecil the lion to Oscar nominations — is politicized, a lot of people are having a hard time viewing the pope’s comments as anything but political? What has happened to us?

So we now live in a world where even helping the poor is considered unforgivably political and not simply humanitarian and prescribed by any religion and a truly religious leader? Please tell me I’m just having a horrible nightmare.

I’m sorry, but if those simple humanitarian qualities are neither American nor religious in nature and ascribe solely to your political ken, then Americans’ and America’s future is in serious trouble and politics will not be your salvation.

And if you have children, and if they have children, I suggest you either pray for them, hope for a non-religious miracle, or face the fact that they will not grow up in the same America that was founded on the beliefs stated in the Constitution that we say we so vociferously believe in.

Harvey A. Gold