December 20, 2007
The Faith of Politics

Every human being has faith in something. Whether one places faith in creation or evolution, eternal life or nihilism, the sovereignty of God or the wisdom of man, eternal life or ultimate nothingness, every human being fashions his or her life in adherence to a particular internalized set of absolutes. The notion that one can live apart from any kind of faith is nonsense. Even those who assert that they have no faith at all are, in fact, affirming a particular kind of faith. By the same token, any person who professes that there are no absolutes defeats the argument through the very act of declaring an absolute. Nobody lives without faith in something.

We pattern our lives with the expectation that certain things must happen according to the empirics of chemistry or physics, obedience to the rule of law, adherence to moral absolutes, or observance of divine principles. No thought, philosophy, policy, law, ambition, action, response, or hope can be sustained apart from faith in something or someone. Thus, any politician who vows to "faithfully execute" the office into which he or she has been sworn without any influence of personal faith is either a fool or takes you for one. It follows that such a person is also likely to abandon certain moral absolutes for the sake of expedience. This practice is also a form of faith, albeit one that is based on the desire for personal gain. This type of faith is purely self-serving, and is eminently harmful to others- a family, a corporation, a city, a county, a state, or a nation.

Perhaps nowhere else is this more evident than when practiced by a holder of, or aspirant to, a political office. We observe politicians who "put on" the faith of a demographic whose votes are sought and later discard that faith when courting a different demographic or after election is secured. We observe politicians who attempt to keep their personal faiths off the table of political discussion but publicly attack the faith of an opponent. We observe politicians who practice one kind of faith at home, and a different kind of faith when removed from the scrutiny of their constituents. And with painful rareness, we observe politicians who diligently and faithfully execute the duties of public office guided by moral absolutes as directed by their faiths, who consistently "do the right thing" heedless to ridicule or opposition from political opponents.

In one sense, politicians attempt to "convert" us to their brand of faith. They ask for our trust, investment, effort, and sacrifice. But in any faith, when the leaders commit transgressions and remain unrepentant, those who have been injured by their hypocrisy scatter and the victims invest their faith elsewhere. This was demonstrated in 2006 with the defeats suffered by the Republican Party on all levels; but a year later, the faith of Americans in their elected leaders- on both sides of the aisle-is even lower. Blinded by the twin seductresses of power and privilege, our elected leaders seem unable to comprehend the reality that regaining our faith takes work, requires more than mere words, and demands accountability. Contrary to what politicians would have us believe, what they say and do is very much our business, and character counts for something.

In 2008, our response to the unabashed rebellion of our elected servants must also be driven by our faith in the founding principles of our nation- a government of, for, and by the people, holding to the truth that all men are created equal and are thus endowed with the right to live free from the intrusion of a heavy-handed, monolithic, unresponsive government that tramples our freedom underfoot. If this nation continues to ignore Congress' arrogant usurpation of our authority and its steady, insidious erosion of our rights, we do so to our own mortal peril. We must remain faithful to that for which so many of our finest sons and daughters have died to bring to life. If America does not stand on this faith, America will not stand at all.

Posted by ERNurse at December 20, 2007 05:36 PM | Email This
Comments
1. Americas faith is lining up at a corporate gouge thanks to our blind faith, that has led us into the oil regions to obtain a moral positive.

Posted by: Publicbulldog on December 27, 2007 03:36 PM
2. Bulldog, I'm not sure what you mean by 'blind faith,' or to which specific group you refer.

I'm not talking about obeisance to a singular faith or religion; I am talking about the necessity for moral absolutes.

Posted by: ERNurse on December 27, 2007 04:02 PM
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