Politics and Passing Through
There's a lovely old hymn that declares "this world is not my home; I'm just a'passing through." I love that song. I'm thinking of it while I wait in the Fort Lauderdale airport for an evening flight back to Detroit and my family. In the last two months I have gone back and forth from far south to far north: Detroit-Jamaica-Detroit-Louisiana-Northern Ontario-Florida.... and, while I have enjoyed meeting my brothers and sisters, I know I am not home.
Nothing against Florida, of course. I love the weather. I even enjoy listening to the Spanish language radio stations even though I know almost no Spanish. It sounds wonderful, doesn't it? Sitting in a strange place, waiting to go home is just another reminder of our lives -- we are all just passing through.
Nowhere is this clearer to me than in the world of politics. I know that many people think they know my politics, but the truth is far more complex than any generalities they might imagine. I vote in every election. I study the issues, read voraciously, pray, and then vote. But what party am I a member of?
I could never be a Democrat. In the name of compassion they create slave states where workers have to labor half the year to pay for entitlement and government programs. And if they choose not to pay? They never hesitate to bring the power of the State down on the protestor and squash them like bugs (think Ruby Ridge, Waco, Elian Gonzales, etc. ad nauseum). They pull away too many personal freedoms in the name of the State, community, and conformity.
I could never be a Republican. While I stand with them -- most of the time -- on the moral ground they say they hold, the fact is that most of them in public office do not live moral lives. The number of them who commit criminal or questionable acts is just too large for me to be comfortable wearing their name. I am repulsed by the slickness and greasiness, the corporate club-like nature of their policies, and by the lack of spine they show when push comes to shove.
I could never be a Libertarian (with a capital L) even though I am a libertarian (with a little l) at heart. While I agree with them on so many issues, they use their conventions to attack faith and morality; making abortion a holy grail. While they shout for liberty it seems that liberty is to apply to them far more than to others: they actively fight teaching intelligent design and against any public statements of faith.
So I am a pilgrim politically as well as bodily. I am just traveling along. I will continue to study, read, pray, and vote but I do not foresee a day ever coming where I will vote a straight ticket. My allegiance to Jesus makes it difficult to have an unquestioning allegiance to anything else. I don't regret that: it is the way it is; the way it is supposed to be. Just as I have never found an earthly home, I haven't found a political one, either. As a Christian and a pilgrim, an alien in this land, I will live as faithfully as I can -- including my participation in the political process. But I will not rely on any earthly party for my salvation. They aren't able to deliver on that, regardless of their promises. Instead, I will rely on Him who is faithful. And I will wait for the day when I can finally go home.