Broad Strokes Paint Poor Portraits

I know this has been happening since time immemorial, but in the past year, I have been increasingly disappointed by seemingly rational people casting wide, sweeping generalizations of all sorts over all types, classes, races, religions, and genders of people. The Left is ________. The Right is ________. Gay people are ________. Evangelicals are ________. Millenials are ________. Gen Xers are ________. Men are ________. Women are ________. Feminists are ________. White males are ________. Black Lives Matter are ________. Police are ________. Christians are ________. Muslims are ________.

Things, unfortunately, are not that simple. I think viewing the world through the filter of Facebook has made it feel like a growing epidemic because 95% (this is not a real statistic) of the people on the internet say things that they would never say if even one human being from whatever populace they are discussing were standing in front of them. And therein lies the problem.

Broad strokes paint poor portraits. Anytime you try to categorize people, shove them into a box, make them fit whatever stereotype helps you make sense of the world, you are distorting them as individuals.

Because each of these groups of people is made up of hundreds of thousands of individuals who have hopes and dreams and mostly want good things just like you do. Whether they agree with what good is or go about getting it the same way you do is not the question. Disagreement does not even come into play in this discussion. We’re not discussing ideologies, but humanity and the intrinsic worth and complicated emotions and desires that come with it.

Portraits are unique and distinct. They are nuanced and shadowed and, in good ones, there is something intangible that helps you almost feel like you know the person portrayed. If you could look at the details, the histories, the loves, and the fears of each individual within any person your world view has tried to turn into a cliche, you would find a soul just as worthy as your own.

Our broad strokes are embarrassing. It is like drawing a stick figure and saying it is the spitting image of everyone in whichever subset you are discussing. This is not only rude; it is illogical. It is the thing children do when they are afraid. We are scrawling children’s drawings on people’s faces and turning them into boogeymen instead of human souls.

I am completely aware that some people fit stereotypes. That’s why they exist. But only the ignorant actually judge people by them. Because there are many, many more who do NOT fit the blanket categorization applied to them. No person is just one thing. They are infinite worlds unto themselves that we will never be able to fully comprehend.

Portraits are not something you create overnight. You must be engaged with someone in order to see them fully – to see them around corners and in the dark, behind doors and when the curtain is pulled back. It’s not always pretty, but let’s refrain from painting over three-dimensional people with our flat preconceived notions.

Why I Did Not Vote

OK, so I know I’m a little behind the game on talking politics.  That is because the whole thing makes me nauseated.  However, this week I have had several discussions with people asking me to explain the reason I was not voting.  I am sure that I will catch a lot of flack for this, but I am interested in people’s responses, whether you agree or not.  So, here goes:

 

My Political Manifesto

 

I did not vote because I believe that until the people who claim their lives belong to God rise up and act like it, this country’s morals and plans will continue to disintegrate and decline.  No amount of human strategy will rebuild the integrity that has been lost.  I do not believe that you can legislate morality, and even if you could successfully do so, whose morality are you going to legislate?  I know people of strong moral conviction and Christian substance who are virtually polar opposites when it comes to politics.  Legislating morality is only somewhat controlling the level that an activity is conducted publicly.  Any activity is going to continue in the shadows regardless, and unless there is individual change, corporate law is merely a label to make us feel better because we cannot see certain things done out in the open.  It is about comfort.  “I want to feel comfortable in my political and societal environment, so I want to see this happening and don’t want to see this happening.”  This is just hiding your eyes from what is really happening.

 

I did not vote because I believe the political system is almost wholly corrupt.  It is full of people grasping for power and pushing agenda.  The political system has very little to do with maintaining personal freedoms now, and is mostly about whose freedoms get upheld.  Instead of maintaining freedom for all, politicians choose whose freedoms are more important and pander to that crowd, often, I am convinced, with very little personal conviction about an issue or the actual freedoms themselves, but with care to who is going to give them the most political support and help them attain the most power.  In conjunction with this reason not to vote, I do not believe that God needs to work within a corrupt system to get His work done.  God does not need a bunch of legislators passing bills to police morality in order to become more powerful.  God needs individuals who are willing to give of themselves and love others unconditionally.  Until this happens, no amount of putting God in or taking God out of government will really make a difference.

 

I did not vote because the political system is almost wholly managed by fear.  The terror that each political party tries to force down the throats of their own supporters just to ensure their actions and votes is not of God.  “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)  The fear that is constantly force-fed to people through political campaigns literally makes me sick to my stomach.  I cannot tell you how many people spoke to me during this campaign about how terrified they were about what would happen if their non-favored candidate was put into office…both sides.  Terrified.  This system creates and, in fact, counts on a lack of trust in God.  It says, in not so many words, “God cannot work if A is put into office.  YOU must control your own environment.”  Again, I believe the system gives rise to a corporate blame as opposed to an individual responsibility.  If individuals would act on the beliefs and convictions they claim to hold so dearly and so strongly, then it would not matter who was in power.  We CANNOT control our environment – God never says we are supposed to.  He talks about what we are supposed to do in our own lives.  People have their chosen institutions for who they get to point to when they say what they believe, whether that is a church or a political party or whatever…churches allow the same freedom from personal responsibility.  You can say, “I am affiliated with X church or X political party, therefore, I am doing my part,” when we sit back and, largely do nothing from our own resources or with our own time.  And going back to the verse I quoted above, the politics I see certainly does not give to rise to anything like a “sound mind.”  The irrationality and hatred (opposite of love as in the verse above as well) that politics brings about are NOT of God.  I have seen perfectly intelligent, highly peaceful and caring persons go nearly crazy with anger over politics and distort and demonize everyone who could have a different viewpoint.

 

I did not vote because I see no love in politics.  And this is the reversal of the last reason, being that it is almost wholly perpetrated by fear.  “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.  He that feareth is not made perfect in love.  We love him, because he first loved us.  If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he heath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?  And this commandment have we from Him, that he who loveth God love his brother also.” (I John 4:18-21)  I touched on it above, but the hatred and slander that is spewed on both sides makes me want to have nothing to do with the system.  I cannot view one or the other party as a representative of Good when that is what I see.  Politics does not encourage, in any way, unity.  It promotes, in order to promote itself, difference, which manifests as antagonizing and stoking every issue necessary to stir people up against one another.  There is not even a common courtesy or respect in place.  It is a gloves off battle for power.

 

I did not vote because I do not believe God needs to “win.”  Jesus was not a political candidate when He was on the earth; He loved people and lived life with them.  THAT is how He effected change, and that is how I believe we, as God’s people, are called to effect change.  Politics, to me, is simply a distraction from living out His love…a tool that the devil has used to take our mind off of the real business of being Christians and caring for the orphan, the widow and the alien as true religion is described in the Bible.  Again, God never says, make sure everyone around you is doing what is necessary to care for the widow, the orphan and the alien.  He says YOU do it.  If we would all follow that instead of waiting for the government to make sure it happens in whatever manner we deem best, the politics would not even matter.

 

I did not vote because I believe that God is in control of individual lives, including mine, and THAT is how His will is going to be accomplished.  I choose not to put my “faith” in a political candidate or party.  I choose not to put my vote and stamp of approval behind the caustic nature of politics, whatever issue or agenda or faith they claim they are going to uphold.  If I do not see love and God and peace in their campaigns, why should I expect that in their terms in office?

 

Addendum: Lyrics to Derek Webb’s song, “A Savior on Capitol Hill”

 

I’m so tired of these mortal men
with their hands on their wallets and their hearts full of sin
scared of their enemies, scared of their friends
and always running for re-election
so come to DC if it be thy will
because we’ve never had a savior on Capitol Hill

you can always trust the devil or a politician
to be the devil or a politician
but beyond that friends you’d best beware
’cause at the Pentagon bar they’re an inseparable pair
and as long as the lobbyists are paying their bills
we’ll never have a savior on Capitol Hill

[Bridge]
all of our problems gonna disappear
when we can whisper right in that President’s ear
he could walk right across the reflection pool
in his combat boots and ten thousand dollar suit

you can render unto Caesar everything that’s his
you can trust in his power to come to your defense
it’s the way of the world, the way of the gun
it’s the trading of an evil for a lesser one
so don’t hold your breath or your vote until
you think you’ve finally found a savior up on Capitol Hill

 

 

The Politics of Love

A friend of mine received an e-mail forward that greatly grieved her.  I wrote a response below; original text in black, my response is in red.

(Forgive the poor formatting – wordpress does not like things pasted from Word!)

I’m The One You’re Talking About

 

With all of the hurt I recognize from those labeled “left-wingers,” I decided to respond to the following e-mail post in order to show that there is a difference in those who consider themselves Christians first and Republicans later and the reverse.

 

With all the vitriol I’ve been hearing from the right-wingers of late, I can’t help but recognize myself as the target of their obsessive hatred. So I thought I’d take this opportunity to out  

myself, just so they know who it is they’re spending so much time talking about.
Yes, I’m that American-hating broad who believes in life, liberty and equality for all Americans, not just those of a “socially acceptable” color, religion, address, pay scale or political affiliation.

 

 

And I am the Christian who wishes that I could make up for all of the anger, hatred and fear that is displayed in the name of Jesus Christ – all of the fanaticism that states that if you are not like me, you are not a worthwhile person.


I’m that baby-killer who thinks that every child should be a wanted child, and that the ultimate decision to give birth is the domain of the woman whose body is involved. I also believe that people who really care about saving babies might want to think about the ones who are already born – especially the ones born in places our government is currently blowing off the map, or might plan to in future.

 

And I am the Christian who believes that if more believers would put down their arms about an “issue” and take up the cause of the already fatherless, there would be far less of a need for abortion in the first place.  I am sad that Christians demonize the results of failing our duty to humanity.

I’m that godless whore who believes that if the government wants a say in how I conduct myself in my own bedroom, they’d better be prepared to lay down a lot of cold, hard cash – because if I’m going to screw according to someone else’s specifications, it’s only right that I be paid handsomely for satisfying the john.
 

 

And I am the Christian who believes that I am not God’s police.  The greatest of the commandments, from Christ’s own lips, is that we love God and love others.  We have failed to show anyone a reason to love God, and have no right to ask anyone to live up to standards that we ourselves cannot and have never been able to meet.
 

 

I’m that infamous anti-Christian who actually believes that I am my Brother’s Keeper – and that includes supporting social safety-nets that provide food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, care for the sick – you know, all that yadda-yadda stuff that Christ used to preach about back when people who called themselves Christians had a passing familiarity with his teachings. I also believe that just because Christ was tortured to death doesn’t mean he was promoting the idea as something we are free to do with his approval.

 

And I am the Christian who believes that the government has only to take up this responsibility because we largely fail to do it as the Body of Christ.  We were called to be an extension of His care, and have chosen instead the easy road of militant cause – lending us falsely free consciences when we turn our backs on those who we have decided are living “in sin.”

I’m that unscrupulous libertine, apparently devoid of any morals whatsoever, who has deluded myself into thinking that if the gay couple down the street get married, they’re not  going to destroy every heterosexual marriage in the neighborhood – and by the way, I’ve yet to hear a coherent argument as to how that would happen if they did.

 

 

And I am the Christian believes that we have destroyed marriage ourselves by treating it with such flippancy.  Marriage is about commitment and who are we Christians to bark about its sanctity when we divorce as often as those around us?

I’m that unpatriotic bitch who thinks that sporting a flag pin in your lapel doesn’t mean shit if you’re wearing it while supporting pay-cuts for the troops, or budget cuts to veterans’ care – or, for that matter, calling anyone and everyone who disagrees with you “unpatriotic” because you really have nothing of substance to say, but just love the sound of your own meaningless rhetoric blasted over the airwaves.

 

 

And I am the Christian who believes that disagreement does not equal hatred.  If we could re-learn to look beyond issues and labels and groups and see humans, perhaps we could learn that those humans have hearts.

I’m that blatant sexist who thinks that if someone like Sarah Palin has nothing more to offer than a pair of tits while seeking the office of the vice presidency, she’d damned well better have something more in her training bra than a wad of Kleenex – like actual knowledge of the responsibilities of the job, for starters.

 

 

And I am the Christian who wishes to apologize for our lack of faith in God – for the fact that we feel the need to press on everyone else and force them to fit in to our mold, like the school bully, instead of showing God’s love and trusting that He can work it out if we would just obey Him ourselves.

I’m that socialist commie who thinks people should reap the financial rewards of their own hard work while the CEOs of the corporations they toil for share the resulting profits, rather than pocket them all while throwing crumbs to those whose labor created those profits in the first place. Yup, that’s me – another anti-capitalist, spouting my big mouth off when oil companies earning record profits get tax subsidies, as though they don’t deserve them.
 

 

And I am the Christian who believes that capitalism is the life-blood of our economy, but for the fact that it has been hi-jacked and subsidized by a government seeking to attain its own ends and fill its own pockets.  The corporations receiving government payouts because they have run their companies into the ground with poor business practices are the same corporations that put Mom and Pop’s Hardware Store out of business, though they were possibly the most honest, hardest working people in the town.


I’m that big city chick, who couldn’t possibly share the same values of the kid from the suburbs, or the mid-western farmer, or the small-town librarian – or anyone who, unlike me, was raised in the right pocket of Americana – wherever that may be.

 

And I am the Christians who wishes we could do away with all references to “right” or “left” and learn to see the things that we hold in common – to protect the innocent, to bring hope to the weary and food to the hungry.  We are all in this together – who cares where the “pockets” are?

I’m that no-good Bush-basher who had the gall to notice that an idiot who couldn’t string two words together without getting both of them wrong would inevitably lead this country into an unwinnable war (or two), financial ruin, complete moral failure, and global disgrace.
 

 

And I am the Christian who does not turn a blind eye to disgraces from anyone just because they are in power, and I definitely do not make an exception just to make myself feel better about it if it is someone that I helped put there.


And while I’m at it, I may as well come completely clean – because, let’s face it, you’ve got me dead-to-rights: I’m also a tree-huggin’ environmentalist who believes in such outrageous ideas as upholding the Constitution, equal treatment under the law, and civil rights – and the hypocrisy of you people who call ME un-American makes me want to retch.

 

And I am the Christian who believes that our Constitution has been trampled on from persons of all political parties whenever it best suited their needs at the time, because politics is no longer “by the people, for the people,” but it is a selfish grasping for power and agenda.

So now that you know who I am, please feel free to rant about me all you want. I’m proud of who I am, what I believe in, and what I stand for – a feeling you’ll never know.

 

 

And now that I hope that you know we do not all hate you.  Some of us are saddened by the mis-use of our God’s name to try to manipulate the world around them so they can feel comfortable in a controlled moral environment instead of worrying about the hearts and souls of individuals.

But don’t be embarrassed by not recognizing me in a crowd – you see, there are tens of millions like me, and you know what they say: All those damned anti-Americans look alike.And we’re all about to vote alike – which means voting your asses out of office.

 

 

I hope that you also can see that I think it is completely irrelevant who is in office, because I believe in a God who loves – a God who is not threatened by man and our selfish, confused attempts at running a country, a business, a family or our own lives – a God who will be working in the hearts and lives of those who are seeking Him regardless of the political climate.  I am not threatened by political change, because my God is not a God of politics.  He is not trying to “win.”  He only wants to love.

See ya around, chumps. And the next time you think about calling me or anyone like me anti-American, you might want to look back at what this election has been all about – and who the REAL Americans truly are.

 

 

And along the same lines, I am not trying to be more American than you.  I do not want to compete with you.  I want all competition to be put aside so we can work together, live together…together, though not identical; in harmony, though not the same.

 

Thanks for taking the time to learn who we are, too.  We’re out there, I promise.

Questioning Government

I’m not much into politics.  I don’t really follow it.  I do know that my boyfriend thinks Ron Paul is the only candidate out there worth looking at, but this post really isn’t about him so much.  It’s about the attitude of the two people on this newscast.  Watch the video below and then see what I think about all of that.  (It’s only about 3 minutes long.)

The attitudes of these women angers and saddens me.  Whether you believe that 911 was an inside job or not (it’s worth looking into), blind trust in ANY government is never a good idea.  Whatever you think about the Founding Fathers, this was the reason they established the government as they did, so that you COULD question it.  So that the people were in charge of it and not the other way around.  Because they had seen what unlimited power in the government did to societies and individuals. 

Also, the fact that these ladies say Ron Paul should have told the 911 Truth-ers to “Bug Off” shows an incredible intolerance to anyone who doesn’t think exactly as they do.  Since when is it a good idea for a presidential candidate to alienate any group of people whether they agree with them or not?  Their attitudes, their comments and their blatant mocking of Ron Paul makes this newscast seem more like a gossip session than a political commentary, with a severe lack of insight and a definite lack of respect for a man who is not some “fringe” candidate, but an upstanding citizen.  Whatever else he is, he has been a flight surgeon in the US Airforce, an obstetrician, and served more than one term and over several decades in the United States Congress.  Although his ideas might not be popular amongst heads of state, he is clearly not demented or deluded or crazy.  You just have to watch him in an interview or a debate to see that.  You would think that his history and demeanor would ensure a certain amount of security from simply being seen as a laughable public figure; a joke; someone to be dismissed as ridiculous. 

I want to add here that I know I have been guilty of simply bad-mouthing people I did not agree with in the past.  I’m sure that I will again be guilty of it in the future.  I hope that is not what I am doing here.

 So, go think for yourself.  Question.  I’m not saying you have to support Ron Paul or that you have to believe 911 was an inside job.  Just go figure out what you DO support or what you DO believe.  For yourself.