Election years are always interesting to watch, for one, the candidates we seem to select are by far the most polarizing people in politics (or in this years election…business). I guess it is because of some primordial desire to witness this constant drama played out over months…and months…and months. Like reality television only with real consequences for the viewer.
The other thing that strikes me is that in most cases (this year excluded) the candidates make some endearing gesture to keep all things fair. No negative adds; just policy. While this is a lofty goal in politics it’s certainly not unattainable. Yet, after all the promises of positivity, they inevitably fall off the proverbial wagon that is loaded down with compliments and flatteries for their opponent and his/her positions.
The lies…the fabrications…the exaggerations, they have all come to characterize elections in a country that was founded on ideals and principles that are better than that. Interestingly enough when the negative adds finally begin to play out on national television, social media, and broadcast radio, the excuses are always the same; “My opponent hit me first and I simply had to defend myself.” Yes, that’s right, the blame game begins. Kind of like that star football player who gets busted for steroids and then begins blaming the competition…the “I had to do it to compete mentality.” Let the mud slinging begin.
This election is quite different from past elections as it seems we have settled on at least one candidate who makes no bones about his willingness to sling mud…rocks…tire irons…or whatever else he can get a hold of. As a result, this candidate is now being called a bully. Is it not true though that we could make the same argument for every other candidate that has run for public office…especially this year. So what’s the problem? The standard rule of thumb here in American culture is that we can talk bad about someone so long as we don’t call ’em no names. Rest assured Donald Trump does not play by the typical politicians playbook, he just simply does not care who he offends. I must admit that while I do not agree with the name calling at all, it is quire refreshing to see the PC crowd in a hissy.
We seem to have no problems in our society with dragging someone’s name through the mud, so long as we aren’t calling them names in the process. Unfortunately as Christians we likewise have the same problem. First, we are told to let no unwholesome talk come from our mouths, yet we continue to slander, ridicule and blaspheme any and everybody that does not agree with our positions. We can rationalize this in our minds by convincing ourselves that its all in good fun and that we’re just pointing out the flaws in our neighbors; flaws that make them unfit for public service, and besides we didn’t curse or call names (at least in church we didn’t) so we are still in God’s good grace. But it could just as assuredly mean that we are not to talk bad about another person at all. Second, in Hebrews chapter 10 we are exhorted to obey God by repenting of sin, for by not doing so we are trampling the blood of Christ underfoot. So what am I trying to say then? Simply this, that while we focus much on the name calling itself there is still much to be said about the general disposition we have toward others. Dragging another persons name through the mud is really no different than labeling them a scumbag. To this, both parties are guilty and if the truth were told, so am I.