acrobats n politics

My friends wrote about the current climate of angst over the political campaign. Pamela urged us to respect one another as well as opinions different from our own. Amy challenged us to talk about what we’re for vs. what we’re against. Wise advice all around.

Somewhat in that spirit, I generally cope by staying away from debates about politics in the midst of a political season especially on facebook and other social networks. I’ve seen it get too nasty, i.e. void of respect and filled with what people are against, not what they are for, even amongst Christian types. It never ceases to amaze me what people say behind a screen and keyboard, generally the kind of cruelty and vitriol they’d probably never speak to another person’s face. And why? Is it in hopes of changing another’s viewpoint so that it resembles their own? Those sorts of tactics don’t change people’s minds. Frankly, when it comes to political and religious leanings, most of us are hard wired from childhood, which means it’s rare to actually change someone’s mind about how to vote and who to vote for. Even more, most Christians hold their political ideology above their faith, wrapping up their bibles in the stars and strips of the flag. Politics trumps faith, as many of us become blind and deaf when asked to try and see another way or hear another view.

Debate, logic (even circular or illogical logic) proof texting, or just trying to make the other look silly or dumb does not win people over. Put aside some of that political fact checking, biblical apologetics, and tight rope arrogance just to make a point that still falls on dull ears. Aptly, Mark Twain once wrote that kindness was a language which the deaf could hear and the blind could see.

Maybe Twain was on to something. If anything works, perhaps it’s genuine and open kindness. We can take our cue from God who tells us that it was kindness that led us to change our hearts and minds and turn to him.

“Don’t you realize that God’s kindness led you to change your heart and life?” Romans 2:4

Laugh a lot this season… after all, some of this stuff is really funny. And be kind.

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children…to leave the world a better place…to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

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About Calenthia Dowdy

Calenthia Dowdy (PhD, American University) is a cultural anthropologist and youth ministry educator who focuses on urban youth and culture in the U.S. and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Alongside teaching, speaking and writing on youth, cities, race, gender, and faith, she serves as the director of faith initiatives at a comprehensive community health center that specializes in HIV/AIDS care