Like most of you, I feel disgusted with the daily tabloid-like fodder coming from the presidential candidates’ camps. Decency, respectability and admirability, like Elvis Presley, left the building weeks ago.
Political theater? We’re living the 2016 version of The Nightmare on Elm Street only this is no dream and Freddy Krueger is alive and well–he just has better hair.
Oh, I’m no Hillary fan either, except, she at least has a comprehensive plan to address substance use disorder and addiction.
But even that topic, which is dear to my heart, takes a back seat to what is really missing in this election cycle.
The theater playing before us is not meant to be a laughing matter but it certainly is a joke. The joke’s on us–and it’s a cruel one–because we’re losing so much of what makes America great.
We need not lose ourselves too.
We have to dig deep
I’ve been tuning out a lot of news lately. I try not to watch the political back-and-forth too closely. I’ve decided that in this final month before the presidential election, I’m going to reach for the one thing that Jesus thought was “the dominant quality of God,” according to author Marcus J. Borg.
That quality, even more than holiness, is compassion.
In his book, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, the Historical Jesus and the Heart of Contemporary Faith, Borg describes Jesus as a political rebel-rouser. He showed/demonstrated how to defy those who followed the lead of ridiculous men, even those who were rich and powerful.
“For Jesus, compassion was the central quality of God and the central moral quality of a life centered in God,” Borg writes. “These two aspects of compassion are combined most clearly and compactly in a single verse . . . ‘Be compassionate as God is compassionate.'” Luke 6:36
Jesus walked a walk of decency, compassion and reverence for people, not the possessions or status symbols that leaders and rulers of the time worshiped.
Jesus eschewed the rules of the day in order to be the Golden Rule.
It’s time for us to do the same
Admittedly, my view of the political theater is from the cheap seats. But I know this: there was a time when our country’s leaders were admired and emulated. Children were told they could grow up to be the president.
The presidency was held in high regard. Today, many believe it is little more than something to be mocked and derided.
It’s a sad situation with no single, nor simple solution.
Sometimes we must be our own solutions. We must take the lead, be the change.
Between now and November 8, a little less than one month from now, I intend to lead with compassion, the highest quality of Jesus, Gandhi, the Buddha, the Dalai Lama and other people of Spirit.
Then I’ll cast my ballot along with what will hopefully be a good majority of Americans. Political theater: the show must go on.