I made an Epiphany resolution this year, something I hope will bring me closer to my fellow sojourners and closer to Christ. My resolution? Learn to forgive and seek to understand the conservatives of this nation. I'm talking the Republican Party. I grew up liberal, and I mostly agree with the politics of the Democrats. However, I have begun to pay attention to how this two party idealism affects our relationships with our fellow Americans. That deep divide between parties that we see in DC didn't just appear out of nowhere, it's in our communities, our friendships, and our families. It affects how we communicate with others, and not just our political discussions. For example: on Election Day, two friends played a trick on a mutual friend. While watching the election results, they pretended that one of them was a Republican, and their mutual friend is a strong Democrat. The mutual friend almost had issues sitting in the same room as a "Republican" and even almost left to go into another room to watch the results. She was quite relieved when she learned he was also a Democrat. While this was a joke, think about how often this is the case with people of differing political parties. We have problems interacting with one another because of politics. I've begun to pay attention to these patterns within myself and I am just as bad as anybody else. I'll drive through an area with conservative signs and begin to judge the people in that area. They obviously have "bad politics". I refuse to listen to what the Republicans in the House and Senate are saying because they are "just defending their party line". I've begun to realize how unChrist-like these behaviors are. Every time I turn on my blinders and refuse to pay attention to someone, I'm devaluing them. They aren't as important as other people, they are Republican and therefore not as good as the Democrats. Now I'm not saying that I have to agree with their politics, I just want to become able to listen to them without getting mad at them. I want to learn to recognize that politicians are politicians, and there isn't something that makes a Democrat politician any better or nobler than a Republican politician. This is hard, and even as I type this I want to cite examples of unjust things Republicans have said. I want to point out the flaws in some of these politicians' characters to make the whole party seem worse, but that's not Christ-like either, and that continues to devalue and divide.
Ultimately, politics are not about which party is better or worse. This isn't some great battle between Democrats and Republicans, a showdown to see who will win out in the end. It has become that way in the media, and all that warring has led to a divided nation. Politics are about trying to figure out ways to keep a nation going as best as possible while respecting the civil liberties given to each citizen. Right now, this party war is stalling that. So if I can learn to forgive and gain an understanding of conservatives, not only can I break a cycle of devaluing others which is unChrist-like and destructive, maybe I can help bridge the political divide between others. And if just a few of us begin to refuse to play in this party war and instead insist on working together, maybe we can build a better country. That's my hope and my Epiphany Resolution.