The Politics of Politics

Disclaimer: This post is from the archives, and may not represent the current views of the author. It also may not be at all interesting to read. Continue at your own peril!

Politicians make me angry sometimes. I know it’s a common feeling. People are always getting angry at politicians. And I know that sometimes they get a bad reputation that’s undeserved – that all politicians are lying, cheating, swindling scumbags. Sometimes it’s true; other times it’s not. But it certainly makes it hard to stand up for politicians, when their primary purpose seems to be to lie and make any promise they can in order to secure their position for a few years.

I can see how it would be a tough job. Politicians are supposed to represent the people in their ridings, and often that is tough enough in itself, with such variety and diversity of opinion. But then you have the political parties to throw a curveball into the whole mess. Despite the fact that some MPs might truly try to represent their constituents, the idea that they must vote along with their political party seems to throw everything off. They can’t do their job properly because they’re forced to either vote along with everyone else or give up their position. That’d be a tough choice for anyone, I think. Sure, they have a chance to vote freely within their parties, but again, it seems to be so far removed from the original population to make much of a difference. You have each riding vote one person into office. The one with the majority of votes gets in, and then this guy votes on issues, in which he is one vote in maybe a hundred in his party, let’s say. Then, whatever the majority decides on that goes into the House of Commons, and (generally) the entire party votes one way. Then, once again, the majority rules. Somehow, all these majority opinions seem to end up leaving out half the original population or more.

So, I understand the tough job that these politicians have. They must make decisions on issues that will affect all Canadians, and there is almost never one easy solution that will satisfy everyone. But it seems like, too often, these politicians then resort to other, less ethical means in order to do the job. They get money from somewhere that’s technically illegal, and then give it out to the taxpayers and try to sweep the whole thing under the rug to make themselves look good. Or of course, they skip the whole selection process and give an advertising job to a Quebec firm, throw exorbitant amounts of money at them, just in order to keep Quebec around. Sure, if the end justifies the means, then we have nothing to say here. Generally, until the scandals are discovered, everyone’s happy. And that’s the important thing, right?

I know everyone’s got an opinion on politics nowadays. It just seems that when trying to select a person to vote for, it either must come down to eeny-meeny-minie-moe, or else an attempt to vote for the lesser of two, or three, or four evils. At least the Americans have it pretty easy, with only two main parties. But we have the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP, and now the Green Party is gaining momentum to become the next large party. And of course, every one of them promises huge things. Sometimes they even carry through. But the very fact that politicians have gotten such a bad reputation tells me that something really needs to be done about the whole thing. I mean, I don’t like the whole party idea, really. It helps in order to understand the platform certain politicians stand on, but when it gets down to the voting process, they end up not being able to represent their constituents because they’re forced to vote with their party. All in the name of “party solidarity.” I’d much rather see it more like the municipal elections. People still understand what potential mayors stand for, and they still get to make empty promises. But in the end, they’re free to represent their city, because they’re not tied down to a political party. But I don’t know. Parties have their pros and cons, and considering it’s not likely to change anytime soon, it’s probably useless for me to even waste my time thinking about it.

Everyone can grumble and complain. Everyone can have an opinion, and open their mouth and blurt out incoherent ramblings filled with angry messages about politics. It’s a touchy subject. And yet, it’s an important one. Politics, whether we like it or not, affect our lives every day. At the very least, we can read about it every day in the paper, and on the news. But ultimately, all the grumbling and complaining in the world doesn’t make a bit of difference if there’s no action to accompany it. History is filled with great men who, yes, saw a change that needed to be made, but didn’t just lay on their couch and complain about it. Instead, they went and changed it. And that is why we remember their names in history. It is for our actions we are remembered, not our rantings and ravings. Unless, of course, we’re late-night talk show hosts.

I’m not going to sit here and say that we should all get into politics. Sure, we need more honest politicians that will be willing to stand up and say, “My job is to represent my constituents, and so I refuse to get involved in these other squabblings.” And for sure, we need more strong Christians in politics who will be willing to stand for their morals and what they know is right. But ultimately, people are just going to get angry at those people, and though they might try to do what is right, their job security also depends on making people happy – and what makes people happy is not always what’s right for them. We need Christians to be in politics in order to stand up for the truth, but if that just means they’re going to get kicked out, it’s not going to last long.

It’s a good thing that the Bible has something to say about the issue. It tells us (though I can’t find the reference at the moment) to pray for those in a place of leadership over us. This includes our pastors, our teachers, our employers, and yes, even those politicians that so anger us sometimes. If we pray that God would guide them, then we are taking action. We are not just sitting back and complaining. If we pray that God would help them make wise decisions, then we can trust God to follow through. Remember that it is Him that sets up kings and deposes them, and so these people are in a place of authority over us because God placed them there. Certainly there are some that abuse this authority and use it for their own gain, but we must trust God to do with them what He wills. Anyone can complain, but if we use that time instead to pray for our leaders, then I believe we can and will see a phenomenal change in the direction in which this country is headed. It is only through God’s power that we can start to see some of those “honest politicians” popping up. Let’s just pray that it happens soon.

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