Electioneering – Religion and Politics

Kurt's Religion and Politics

It’s an easy thing to tell when it’s election season. People running for various offices, scuttle around informing the known universe of their unique skills and abilities—those things that make them a better fit for the position in question, than are their opponents.

None of this is difficult to understand, nor is it particularly problematic as a general thing.

There are some times when the actions taken, and statements made, rattle my chain.

Maybe one of the greatest of these, is using the misfortune and concern of others, as a chance to hype yourself or someone else.

To begin with, regardless who (if anybody) in the political arena is responsible for things that caused misfortune, your first, best, and most proper reaction, is to offer condolences, for whatever has occurred. This isn’t something you ought to need to be told. So in one sense, maybe it’s better if you ignore what I’m saying, since what you’d probably be doing if you act unnaturally, is trying to approximate humanity in any case.

As an example of dealing with concerns, I recently watched a debate in which the participants were asked something along the lines of, “I see a great deal of contention in the political process, and it bothers me. What will you do to make things better?

First, let me give my answer, which is very much like the response proffered by one of the involved parties.

Asked this question, I might say, “Vigorous back and forth is a natural part of the political process. If you want to involve yourself in even the watching of political activities, you would do well to recognize that fact and accept it. That said, at the end of the day, such activity need not be hostile—we can, and should be civil, when dealingwith those, with whom we disagree. That’s even true when they don’t respond in kind. Final answer, in the end, we must work to get along as a general thing, even when we disagree on what might be fundamental components, that drive the rest of our agenda. That’s how I’ll always do my best to react and respond.

The other party in the debate, basically said something like this, “Oh, so-and-so and I, are great at reaching across the aisle, as such, this won’t be a problem when we’re elected.

To begin with, even making that satement opens you up to serious questions. One probably ought not talk about how good they are, when other people should be providing that evluation.

With regard to spanning such a divide though, I would further advise folks say something like the following, “It’s not that I have no intent to work with those in the other party or parties, so much as that I and those who are of like mind, have a particular set of things we want to accomplish. I’m willing to hear those with whom I disagree out, but unless they can convince me, that we’re mistaken on our path, you can count on us moving ahead with what we set out to do.

Taking a stand like this, does multiple things.

To begin with, in ensures those who agree with you, that you’ll do the things you’ve said you will. Additionally, it makes you at least appear to(and we can hope, actually be) reasonable. You’ve said you would talk with those who are at odds with you, listen when they say what they do, and possibly even change your mind if you find them to be expressing things that make more sense, than what you hold.

The latter thing, will almost certainly make it more likely that fence-sitters, will fall on your side, since they’re probably concerned about a candidate’s ability to be concilliatory.

And it’s nothing short of confusion to believe, you’re generally going to change the hearts and minds, of those sold on what your opponents believe.

Another thing that definitely doesn’t please me (and I’m sure this is true for others as well), is when somebody tells and outright lie when talking about things they believe, or support.

If you say you intend to act in a specific way, say for example, that you don’t support some activity like fracking, reversing your position when somebody points that up unless you’ve really changed your mind, makes you disingenuous at best.

If you’re seen to reverse your decision multiple times in the course of a single campaign (particularly in days or weeks), you can be sure folks will consider you duplicitous. That either means you’re lying part of the time, or not clear on what you support. Persons in either camp, are not folks I’m likely to uphold as worthy to be placed in a serious position, doing much of anything.

For my part, I think it even worse when I know a person you’re against, holds a particular position, or believes some thing, and you make it your business to try to insinuate or openly state that he or she, isn’t where I know them to be.

By way of example. I’ve heard an individual, denounce both racism, and groups that are bent on it, multiple times, only to have opponents continually say, they’ve failed to do that very thing.

It’s a sign of serious weakness to me, that you lie about yourself. When you lie about those against whom you’re running, you should be aware you look much worse.

As a final point, I want to discuss the idea of refusing to answer exceptionally pertinent questions, being vague in your responses to them, or using spin to make it seem like you or your opponent, are in places not occupied.

In general, people employ these tactics only when they know answering honeslty will harm them in the eyes of voters.

So, if you’re running for office, and you want for people to consider you in seriousness, you can take my advice or not. If you don’t, count on at least some of us, not being excited by the person and perspectives you present.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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