Something political

Election years, as well they should, cause me to consider again my ideals and values, and the expectations I have for how a government should function and how a government should best seek the common good for its citizens.

This time around, I've realized that my own politics can be summed up in two statements, which are not my own, but come from a pretty respectable source:
Jesus said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind."

And a second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
And how do these two statements inform my politics?

First, loving God: This means that I live in the care of and in the hope of God. It means that I am free to realize that no political system can give me salvation, or no one political party has the corner on saving the world. It means that I don't ever see political candidates as larger-than-life, nor do I need to put all my trust in them. It means that I am free to understand that no one candidate has the power either to save or destroy the world, and that there is life after election day.

Second, loving neighbor as yourself: This is where the rubber hits the road. It takes all individualism out of politics. Preserving my own interests comes second to taking care of the common good. I seek the good of my neighbors, trusting that they will seek good for me. A political system of loving your neighbor means that you seek peace and not war, that all lives have dignity and deserve to be preserved, that wealth is to be shared, that opportunity be available no matter class or race, that justice is tempered by mercy, and that I vote on behalf of my neighbor's needs and interests and not my own.

Loving God and loving neighbor mean that, for me, politics is not about whether I am better off but rather whether we are better off...but at the end of the day it is not even about being better off. It is about being better at the things that matter: love, grace, patience, charity, inclusivity, caring for one another.

So for all of the campaign commercials, all of the conventions, all of the email forwards and blog posts and articles shared on Facebook - every piece of rhetoric that tries to tell me how I should vote - I find that I don't need anything to guide me except for two short sentences: Love God. Love neighbor.

All the law and prophets hang on these two things.

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