The Religion of Politics

What goes on in politics is of the utmost importance to how we live our lives. “You will be made to care,” after all, about numerous things. Marriage equality, reproductive rights, and whatever other keywords exist for pushing an agenda that is rejected by a lot more people than gets reported. I would be a hypocrite if I denounced people focusing for large portions of the day on politics – my own Twitter timeline would betray me.

But, where I think many people go wrong, myself included at times, is that we ignore that there is so much more to life than politics. We get so enamored with our favorite politicians, enraged by our ideological nemeses, dumbfounded by things Vox posts, etc., that we forget some of the more important things. We have families. We have friends that the government has yet to really incentivize us to lose in exchange for subsidies. We have mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, dogs, cats, gerbils, and so much more to live for.

The reason I bring this up is because of the mob mentality, the almost cult-like way people swarm around someone or something and worship at the altar made of political rhetoric. Dylan Byers has a piece at POLITICO that makes mention of the Sunday talk shows dying a slow, noticeable death (poor, poor David Gregory). There is a quote from Tom Brockaw that jumped out at me more than anything else.

“For political junkies and those who just want to catch up, the Sunday shows still are relevant, but they’re not the signature events they once were,” Tom Brokaw, the NBC News veteran who briefly moderated “Meet the Press” in 2008, said in an interview. “I first appeared on ‘Meet the Press’ during Watergate, and it was a secular mass in Washington; the faithful never missed it.” (Emphasis mine. -JC)

Our politicians eat, sleep, and breathe this stuff every minute of every day. Because of it, many, if not most, of them have lost focus of the world outside of Washington D.C. They see only what happens in the chambers of Congress and the office of the president, losing sight of the people who sent them there in the first place. But it’s extended beyond Washington, hasn’t it? That urge to devote ourselves to one side or another without questioning, to swarm and attack like mindless cultists without questioning who or what we’re attacking for.

Take the case of Sheryl Attkisson.

We are so quick to run and make an idol of this former CBS reporter because she dares to be critical of the Obama administration, report on Benghazi and other stories largely ignored by the media, and call out what she felt was liberal bias in her former work place. That’s all fine and dandy, but the people jumping in to make a martyr of her after Media Matters began their assault largely ignore that Attkisson was played a part in anti-vaccine reporting, running stories “linking” vaccines to autism, which goes wholely against science (the same science the Left says is settled when it comes to global warming).

People are quick to shout for Ben Carson to run for and become our next president (he won’t run and he wouldn’t win), largely ignoring that he has espoused gun-grabbing ideas in the past. They will shout time and again for Sarah Palin to run, only for their hopes to be dashed only to push back their calls for another four years when (predictably) she decides not to this time. And, they will shout for Ron Paul to run again (because of course they would).

And, I am certainly not saying we are alone in this. Liberals put their faith into the Church of the State, asking their god (Government) to provide them their manna and quail and to punish their enemies. They cry out for their own messiahs and got Barack Obama. They call for Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren to lead them into a new Golden Age. They go to war over their god (though they are the ones to call our wars “crusades”).

As people, we yearn for a leader. It is understandable that we see someone like Ben Carson or Sarah Palin or Elizabeth Warren or Hillary Clinton and devote ourselves to one of them. But, see that there is a bigger picture in the world, and politics is only a part of it. Don’t let it consume your every thought, and for God’s sake, don’t let it become your religion. When you narrow your focus to something like politics and ignore the rest of what’s going on in the world, you and your loved ones will suffer for it.