Strange Politics


Less than a week to go before elections. Everyone is election crazy. Me included. Some of you are interested in my views--if only to criticize my idealism. I wanted to tell you what really matters to me when it comes to politics, and I wanted to tell you some stories to illustrate why I think our country has some strange politics indeed.

First, I wish that our country's foremost concern was human beings, not the "bottom-line" or the "economy" (which really means the bottom-line and the economy are guages of how much "stuff" we can buy).

The war in Iraq is killing people--if you haven't noticed, that's what war does. 90% of all casualties in this Iraq war are civilians. It breaks my heart a thousand times over. There can never be reverence in a war. Our reasons for going to war were quite irreverent as well. I'll admit, that I was supportive of this war in the very beginning. But I'll also admit that I was easily swayed by media and crooked politicians. No one mentions the unneccessary and brutal deaths that result. I wish we could rest our guns, and use our words more. I wish we would talk about people.

Universal healthcare. I know too many people who have illnesses, that they could not have prevented, and are not insured. This, too, breaks my heart. What happens when things "get serious?" Will they face bankruptcy and death? Why is it that we are so willing to use socialism to bail out wall street crooks, but we won't help people who are sick and afflicted?

Two months ago I sat on a plane next to a nice man who wanted to talk politics. Because I was reading a book he thought it was obvious that I was "liberal." (I hope those of you who don't consider yourself "liberal" are a bit offended, because why is it that only "liberals" read?) Anyway, he told me he was conservative. He volunteered his reason why: because he did not like big government...he did not like regulation (though he says this whole financial crisis is a product of lack of values, virtues, and morals)...and he especially did not like the idea of "lazy" people benefitting from his hard-earned money. I don't know how many of you know people who run into some seriously bad financial luck, and could use some temporary help. I think we all want to help people who can't help themselves. Of course, there will be people who "work the system" but I really don't care. I don't care about my money. Like my mom and brother said recently about hoarding money, "What are you going to do, count it?" I wish we would talk about people.

Secondly, I wish we would talk about stewardship, rather than ownership. I don't think a country is prosperous because it can buy a lot of stuff, which we all know is junk and meaningless anyway. I think a prosperous living includes family healthy and well, gardens, beautiful places to have picnics and to breathe, art, and yoga, of course. Is it really worth it to have giant trucks to drive down the block, or to have the latest craft sitting on your mantle? Is it worth it to have more fuel to drive to the store where you'll buy more junk? I am guilty of all of the above. But I want to share with you that Ceej and I have made a goal not to buy anything new, to use things until they are beyond repair, and continue to ride bikes and walk. Sorry for this cliche, but if I can do it, you certainly can. I wasn't born singing songs of stewardship, preservation, etc. I had to have some rude awakenings myself.

I think politics should be about taking care of each other and the earth. I'm tired of hearing about "the economy" as most important. What about people? What about hearts? What about souls?


CJ said...

Well said Ann! I hope many read this post and consider their lives and the effects of their actions on others--THEN actually change.

Stop buying and talking about but stuff. Stop whining about money and start talking about people.

Dee said...

I agree with EVERYTHING you wrote. 100%. And so beautifully said.

ashsan said...

ann, that was beautiful. thank you for talking about the politics of joy--something that we have been taught we can't talk about.

we can't be afraid to speak in the language of the unconstricted throat. the ultimate failure would be to let us take our language from us.

lane said...

I am loving all this political talk on your blog, finally! I can't wait for the new politics blog.