“… I beg of you: make my joy complete by your unanimity, possessing the one love, united in spirit and ideals. Never act out of rivalry or conceit…”Philippians 2: 1-4
There is a bi-partisan bill coming from the House of Representatives and going to the Senate. This bill would legislate relief for the economic woes of our citizens and provide funds for the distribution of the soon to be available vaccines. I sometimes imagine this gigantic stack of bills, covered with dust, sitting in a corner in Senator Mitch McConnell’s office. Somewhere buried in that stack is the relief bill from the House of Representatives sent in May. Meanwhile, more businesses have closed, more jobs have been lost, and the lines at food banks are increasing inconceivably every day. Many people are on the brink of disaster.
I have to say it. I hate bi-partisan politics. I hate that our country developed this two-party system and we are locked into it with meager hope of our ever getting out of it. A two-party system sets up an “us against them” mentality with fierce rivalry and competition. Every election becomes a war and every decision is based on winning and losing. What a ridiculous and detrimental way to run a country. Instead of arriving at the best decisions for all of us, we end up with third rate decisions made by gamers playing games with our lives.
The miserable thing about “us against them” thinking is that once you choose a side you can just go-along-to-get-along. You no longer need to think for yourself once you have chosen a team. I watch, listen, and read what our representatives do and say, and witness this lock-step way of thinking time and again. When your loyalty is to your team rather than to your country, all you need are directions from the coach in the locker room. You don’t need to do your own research, scrutinize, or figure anything out. Loyalty to party means complying with instructions from the rank above your own. It makes for simple-minded thinking.
We need non-partisan thinking. We need representatives of “We The People” who put us first and not their political party. Even so-called independents find it difficult to avoid playing the game of “us against them.” With non-partisan thinking each person would be responsible to be fully informed of the facts and background of the matter at hand, and not waiting to be told what to think. Each person would need to decide if they have enough information to proceed to a decision and find more information if they needed it.
It is also important for our representatives to stop making decisions for other people without involving those who will be affected by their decisions in the decision-making process. I want to see those who will be affected by these decisions at the discussion tables. Our representatives could facilitate the engagement of real people who will be impacted by their decisions, and these decisions would be much better, and better received. Everyone involved in making decisions for the rest of us needs to be transparent and let us know what went into the decisions. I want relevant, respectful, and complete communication about the process behind the decisions. I’d like to see all communications in multiple languages, with plain speaking, and using different methods to get the word out to all of us. Sigh… I can dream.
No representative should be a freeloader, riding along on the coat tails of their leadership, just following orders while relishing the honors and salaries they receive because of their elected positions. It is time to make things better in our country and time to ask more of those we send to Congress on our behalf. Maybe with a new administration we will see at least some small steps toward unity in spirit and ideals. We can hope. We Christians need to be involved, awake, and paying attention. Let us learn the names and contact information of our elected officials and not hesitate to require their accountability to the people they represent.
Let us pray that one day our representatives will stop playing games with our lives, letting go of their need for one-upmanship. How wonderful it would be if they could stop being rivals, stop shirking their responsibilities for making good decisions, and seek the common good of We The People. We deserve better.
Never give up hope, my beloved ones, for God is on our side.