I normally try to avoid conversations that are overtly political. And I'm referring to "partisan politics", when I say political. In other words, when people are supporting a particular candidate or political party, I usually try to stay out of it. It's not because I don't have opinions and it's not because I don't think the issues that feed into the democratic process aren't important. I avoid overtly political conversations because I generally can see positives and negatives in most political parties and in most individual politicians. The issues of the modern world are too important for me to align myself with any one party, individual, or agenda. I want to be free to equally applaud or criticize an elected official or party without having rooting interests influencing my perception of them.
Another reason I try to avoid supporting a particular candidate or party is that through the years I've known and admired a number of men and women on both sides of the political spectrum. I've known quite a few who were in the middle too. Rather than alienating myself from them over controversial or divisive issues, I would rather remain an ally to all - Democrats, Republicans, Greens, Libertarians, Communists, Independents, and others.
Having said all of that, I'm going to put myself out there and offer up a personal lament. I am so disappointed in the acts of violence spread across our nation. And I don't just mean the violent acts of the past several days. I am so disappointed that our culture is so immersed in violence in general. For a modern, industrialized, democratic country, our record of violent crime is unbelievable. From violent video games to violent films to violent schools to violent communities, we have got to take a hard look at our culture of violence and do something about it. We need to ask the tough questions and then be willing to look for practical solutions. And for those of us who profess to follow Jesus Christ, we need to take his words in his Sermon on the Mount seriously. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." (Matthew 5:9). We would also do well to hear again Jesus' rebuke after Peter tried to defend Jesus in the garden at his arrest. "Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword." (Matthew 26:52). Gun powder had yet to be invented at this point in history, but I would imagine Jesus would have similar things to say about guns. And for those of us who profess to be pro-life, are we only pro-life as it relates to the unborn, or are we pro-life, from the cradle to the grave? If not, why not? Do all lives truly matter? This is something we need to think about as we reflect on, not only the events of the past few days, but on the events in our country over the past 200 plus years. - Shay