There is no salvation in politics

By David Grima | May 09, 2019

There are many sad things on this planet.

One of them is watching newspaper columnists (or other kinds of superficial short-form writers) who start out their journalistic crusades with the fire of True Enlightenment burning in their hearts, knowing that all they need to is explain things clearly and the world will come around and thank them for it.

Without going into names and details, I think we can safely say that this sort of writing has appeared frequently in these pages since the most recent presidential election.

Excuse me if I am mistaken, but I think I detect a sense of quiet disappointment creeping into some of this writing. One column that appeared a few weeks ago was filled with sounds of pain and woe, and a series of pitiful demands by the writer to be left alone.

Yes, it is hard work coming up with new material to write every week, especially when your basic assumptions, those fundamental ideas that used to set you on fire each morning when you rose to eat your Wheaties, have somehow failed to catch on with your readers, inspiring your own kind while also incinerating the Evil Other.

The thing that makes it most difficult is when you have already used up all your ideas about how the world should be run, and yet there continue to be new days, new deadlines, that stretch ahead.

Many people have tried, for example, to make a philosophy out of the various notions and half-formed thoughts that seem to pass, ever so swiftly, through my dear friend Lord Prez Trumpleton’s consciousness. They have tried to make a system out of his random opinions, and have tried to see the logic behind his sudden decisions.

It cannot be done.

By now, the number of Lord Trumpleton’s supporters who have strangled themselves accidentally, tying themselves in knots as they attempt to follow faithfully his every step, is legion. As for the others, the general effect has been for these tormented souls to become quieter and quieter about everything he does, because even they can see that it is impossible to fathom what he is about.

Perhaps they would have been much better if they had not so brazenly associated themselves with poor Trumpleton in the first place, for only he can go where he goes. They cannot follow, except at great peril.

Their attempts at proving their loyalty to him by hanging onto his legs and knees are proving dangerous. First, he has no interest in them at all. Second, their own souls are taking a terrible beating in the process.

Yet there are still many who think that faithfully following Lord Trumpleton is a genuine soul thing. They seem to believe he is a great spiritual leader come to Earth, and that he needs followers, and that he will be glad they were his followers, and one day (at long last) will smile kindly upon them, and bless them, and make their personal sacrifices worthwhile.

This all started (in this cycle, anyway) with the era of Brother Jerry Falwell, of course. It began around 45 years ago, remember. Jerry appears to have clinched that deal with the devil that Jesus refused when he was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days. All he had to do was ally himself with certain political parties, drag his way-too-innocent sheep into the bargain, and he would receive fame, power, authority, etc.

Jesus said “get thee behind me,” and Jerry said “let’s make a deal.”

That had its consequences. Ever since that unholy alliance was signed, people have been dutifully stitching burial shrouds for their souls, while faithfully following their leaders in the wrong direction, toward the cliff that has no bottom.

Unfortunately for these lost souls, the personal life matters. No amount of hiding in the general throng of followers will disguise the fact.

There is no salvation in politics, of any kind.

Politics is, of itself, entirely neutral. What we do with it creates its character, of course, as well as our own character, but it will not save anyone. Life as a human being is about relationships, not about politics, and it is only relationships that can save us.

Politics as a program for society will usually express something about human relationships at a grand, if occasionally rather clumsy, level, often in terms of hundreds and thousands of people; but politics will not establish a single relationship that has any meaning to a living soul.

Good people go into politics fully aware of this; bad people go into politics quite blind to it.

Those who seek to follow either kind often make the enormous mistake of thinking that this program will indeed save their own souls, but as I have said, politics will save nobody. Only the way we treat other human beings will have an ultimately enduring effect on our souls.

Yes, politics expresses how people treat people, but never forget that people are the ones responsible for how people are treated. Don’t blame politics.

It is not tremendously popular to say things like this, naturally, although it used to be more dangerous than it is now. In harsher times, people have been treated rather badly for it. We are both fortunate and unfortunate to live in a society that, on the whole, cares very little about such things either way. Such talk is often confusing for people who have been strongly encouraged not to pay attention. Too many of us have already been distracted from the point of everything, including the point of human life.

These days, individuals have begun to shape their personal lives around the misshapen forms of politics as it is currently practiced. The personal life, crying out for love and care, is becoming a slave to the political that neither loves nor cares.

It’s a terrible reversal of the proper order of things, and it is beginning to deform personal lives, and distort relationships, all over the country.

So I do understand the sense of despair and frustration that seems to be overwhelming certain writers on these pages. They have been trying to drink spiritual water from a mud hole, which risks twisting and shaping their personal commitments into some truly distressing forms. They seem to have lost their taste for Living Water, or have forgotten where to find it.

And there is no strength in them..

Comments (5)
Posted by: George Terrien | May 14, 2019 09:58

Mr. Grima, for me, this among your columns that I have read is the strongest, deepest, and most significant.  Thank you!

Posted by: Ronald Horvath | May 11, 2019 10:10

“Capitalism leads to dole queues, the scramble for markets, and war. Collectivism leads to concentration camps, leader worship, and war. There is no way out of this unless a planned economy can somehow be combined with the freedom of the intellect, which can only happen if the concept of right and wrong is restored to politics.”  -George Orwell


"For what it's worth, I don't think expanding public imagination is a "new style."  It is a return to the Democratic party that went to the moon, passed the civil Rights Act, and strove for the great society.  It's the politics of courage vanquishing fear;  Aspiration over desperation."  -Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez


"If You Cheat On Your Spouse, You’ll Cheat On Your Country."  -Sean Hannity 2008



Posted by: Patrick Michael Florance | May 11, 2019 08:49

Well said, David!

Posted by: Mary A McKeever | May 10, 2019 16:43

A very profound commentary! Food for thought......

Posted by: ROBERT W. KNAPP | May 10, 2019 11:26

Thanks be to Trump.

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