Friday, December 16, 2016

Are you not entertained?

I have come to believe that of all the Christian principles “Judge not” might just be second only to “Love one another.”

Rather than divide, let us reconcile. Rather than let pundits tell us what to think, let us do the real work of patriots and educate ourselves on the matters at hand. Let us let go of popularity contests and our fantasies about one another and talk about issues and reasons. Let us be faithful to our principles and to one another.

We are intoxicated on the opiate of the public drama. “Are you not entertained?” Saturday Night Live got it right in that regard. The Gladiator quote is spot on. The Flavian Amphitheater (aka: the Roman Colosseum) provided free entertainment for the Roman public, a distraction from daily hardships. Our contemporary public/political theater likewise distracts us. As if we were at a football or basketball game, we seem primarily concerned with “our side.” We hurl sound bites and trash talk our opponents and in general fail to consider the real issues at hand. As part of this we make sweeping generalizations about groups of people. We imagine who they are in the most unsavory terms. Conservatives, Liberals, intellectual elites, “white working class”, People of Color, Blacks, Hispanics … fantasies of an arch type of each in which we believe so deeply we cannot remember the individuals we personally know.

Instead of giving into the drug of public drama – let us for a moment imagine truthfully the kind of world we want to live in, personally and then in terms of our communities. What does that world look like and how does it come into being? I personally long for a society that cares more for people, that is more accepting, that is more respectful and compassionate. I long for a world in which fear is consoled and compassion is a greater virtue than profiteering.

No comments: