Have I blogged about politics before? I can't quite remember, but being as opinionated as I am, I must have at some point.
Anyway, it's not my country and I don't have to live with the nitty gritty effects of it, but I like today's election result in the USA. I would even go so far as to say I'm relieved Obama won. Republican principles make my skin crawl, as do many of the values of the Liberal Party in Australia. I'm not sure I view the Australian Labor Party much differently, nor the Democrats, although I confess to being less well informed on the Democrat front.
It seems to me most political parties are tarred with the same brush. They walk hand in hand with large corporations and, often times, the media. Together they form a money making machine that I consider to be immoral. Corporations aggressively lobby politicians, who then make laws to aid and protect said corporations and help them grow their profits at the expense of the people (whether in our developed countries or overseas) and the environment (usually overseas because we no longer tolerate degradation so willingly in the developed world). The people (who the government should be working for) are forgotten in the equation - so long as corporations make a profit and economic growth takes place, government is happy. They fob off the people by telling them how much better off they are because of the economic growth, but in the meantime biodiversity is lost, pollution kills people, workers aren't paid properly, suicide grows, domestic violence is rampant, child abuse overwhelms government systems, cancer and chronic disease are on the rise. Hardly a pretty picture. Economic growth is a bitter pill to swallow, and as far as I can tell, it's killing us, no matter what our helpful governments try to tell us.
Recently a Christian friend questioned my political persuasion. She wanted to know how I could vote for a political party that supports abortion and gay marriage. She didn't mention euthanasia or legalisation of drugs, but the Greens also support those policies.
I can't say I see those questions as non issues, but they seem to me to focus on personal morality at the expense of what I will call social morality. While the environment crumbles and humans languish under appalling labour and living conditions, we have too often stood back and done nothing, or wrung our hands over that person having an affair here or aborting their child there. I'm not saying those things are right, but I cannot sit back and ignore big picture scenarios anymore. The injustice of our world is not OK. The raping of the earth is not OK either. Too long we have let it happen, hiding behind ignorance or our own inflated sense of superiority because we don't engage in such personal immoral practices ourselves.
My friend said (and I quote): my 'religion' (for want of a better word) is my moral compass and can't be divorced from any political persuasion I have and with this I totally agree. My religion is also my moral compass, only I cannot limit that compass to personal morality. I read of a God who cares deeply about civic morality, a God who abhors poverty and injustice, a God who glories in a magnificent creation, and so I am guided to vote for politicians who also care about such things. And if, in the process of voting for them, I have to give ground on personal issues, so be it. I read of Jesus responding with the utmost compassion to people who committed personal transgressions. While others pointed the finger and sought to bring the sinners down, Jesus loved and forgave them before lambasting the societal leaders of the time for their double standards and tricky laws that allowed greater profits while keeping up the appearance of doing the right thing. It seems to me that Jesus' life was a lesson in subversion. He took all the known laws and relational networks and turned them on their head. He aimed to create a new social order with love as its core.
I don't know of any political party that goes that far. Certainly not the two main branches of politics we have today. However, for me, the left of the political spectrum best honours Jesus' message and mission. Thus I'm pleased Obama won. His way of seeing the world aligns slightly more closely with this. But Obama is hardly left wing, and he has done many things that fly in the face of love and justice (drone attacks to name just one).
I'm still waiting for the perfect political party that most truly reflects the values Jesus promoted. In the meantime, I'll keep leaning left as far as I can and hoping our corrupt and greedy systems one day come to naught while people and the earth are valued and cared for as they should be.