Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Is it all about the Party or the Issues?

Perhaps politics is just the distraction in today's cultural dialogs, to resolving issues surrounding us. What do you think?

Every time you and I turn on a form of medium (the TV, online news videos, the radio, even informative emails) we often hear people's 'angles'. But how many times do you think the discussions are all about truth vs winning a home run for the home team. And how many of us, the consumers, do you think fall for it the majority of the time? I am guilty as charged and definitely not happy with myself.

Congressman Anthony Wiener who has just won the "anti-honorable statesman" award in my book, is a great case in point. Here is a long term Congressman in DC (a Democrat from NY) who gets caught in some inappropriate behavior on a number of fronts (most importantly for his marriage). But bigger yet is he lied about whether the pictures in question were him. After deflecting - very horribly I might add - for a week, he came clean - He is guilty as charged.

All the news stations are talking about him, what is going to happen to him, what did he do, what did he not do, what will be his consequence. Reporters spend hours asking different 'experts', "what do you think about this? Or does that statement indicate anything to you? What is going to happen to his wife, and her career?" and on and on and on.

Looking at this all through a political sphere (or lense) like I do (because it's my field of expertise) I acknowledge: from the Republicans side, if this issue is kept alive it damages the images of the Democrat Party, it distracts from what they are wanting to get accomplished, it can taint anyone affiliated with him, especially as the story grows more detailed. And in turn, it is possible that Republicans will be able to shake some of the potent shame of their own leaders who have been branded with the famous "A" (from Scarlet Letter, good book by the way), living lives less than honorable as elected leaders, husbands and fathers.

The results of Congressman Wiener's mistakes will resolve in two ways: 1) he'll save his face and continue in his career of political leaders or 2) he will quickly resign.

But the way you get to the result will be partly based on: what kind of pressure will be put on him. Will he step out of office because it's the right thing to do (he is a leader and example to children, marriages, citizens on many fronts!) or because the party itself feels the heat and cannot do enough damage control to save face, while keeping him in office.

For the party, it's all about the party; and therefore why don't we realize it that those in the political and media world often report things to us with a slant? As objective as they are supposed to be, they are often used as pawns for communicating specific ideology. Sad, but true.

Call me a little jaded, but my experience in politics wonders how many of those reporting the story, have found themselves in similar positions? Where they have compromised on a moral issue? How many elected leaders would be scalded right now if their true colors were exposed? How many staffers are hiding behind the scenes so no one catches wind of what they have been 'doing', that could hurt their own promising futures in their boss's seat someday.

My point? How many of our debates and arguments are doing because of the party and how many are engaged in because what has happened is morally wrong, something of shame, and extremely inappropriate.

So is politics the distraction from helping us be refined beings before God? I really don't care if the party gets hurt in these scenarios (Republican or Democrat). What I care about is: how are their spouses? Their children? Their own hearts and minds before God?

What we must remember is that the world of political reporting and analogy is sometimes like a bouncy ball, it jumps all over the place: one hour the media is talking about a possible mass grave in Texas but 24 hours ago they were asking Sarah Palin for the three-thousandth time if her stop in New Hampshire was intentional, on the day Mitt Romney announced he was running for President, in the all important electoral state.

The actions we take in this moment might be pleasurable and we might be clever on how to sweep things under the rug, slant the messaging or deflect to something else that is "certainly, more important!". But any decision can have large impacts. No amount of smooth party positioning can quiet things enough so God's conscience in us goes away. And, His truth remains the same, no matter how we try to spin it. And believe it, the world's greatest communication strategist cant get past God. The party might suffer but that doesn't matter; but by the truth being revealed, we will be set free.