Anthropology and Politics

Being that we are only a few short weeks away from the Presidential election, I […]

Sean Norris / 10.13.08

Being that we are only a few short weeks away from the Presidential election, I thought that I would share some of my observations on the build-up to November 4 and its theological implications.

Politics can be touchy, and I hope I don’t come off as preachy… BUT like The Wedding Singer, “I have the microphone so you will listen to EVERY #&@! WORD I HAVE TO SAY!”:)

It is impossible these days to tune into any news station – whether it be TV or radio, national or local, cable or network – without hearing something about “what happened today on the campaigns”. Every form of media is saturated with it. Even my beloved car magazines discuss the candidates and what impact their election would have on man’s greatest invention, the automobile (in my opinion of course).
I’ve done my best to be a responsible, informed voter before the election. I’ve watched MSNBC and CNN, and I’ve also watched some FOX to try to get both sides of the story :). Interestingly (or perhaps not so interestingly), I have found myself completely frustrated with both sides.
Both parties sound more like they are preaching a religion than conveying political views (they certainly are not reporting the news, but that’s a whole ‘nother topic). Faith seems to be the primary factor: each side is promoting faith in their candidate, that their guy is the right man for the job. This has been true in the debates too. The candidates have both pleaded with America to believe in them, to have faith in them, to vote for them. Obama’s camp has even produced signs that say “BELIEVE” at the rallies. I am sure McCain has something to that effect too, but I just haven’t seen it yet. The bottom line is, it feels like we are voting as much for a savior as for a president.
I am reminded of the first time Bush ran against Gore. I was attending a very conservative Christian college at the time, and I remember staying up with many of my friends watching and waiting to hear who won. When word finally came that Bush had won you could hear people cheering all over campus. Many of us Christians thought this guy was gonna be the guy to change our country for the better. He was a Christian after all. We had put our faith in this man.
Now, almost eight years later, there is disappointment. I don’t hate Bush like some, and I don’t think he was “the worst president ever”, but he has definitely not been all that I wanted him to be. He screwed up a lot because he is human. And he is certainly not the savior that most Christians (that I knew anyway) hoped he would be. He is a sinner like every other president we have ever had or will have.
Of course, it seems I don’t learn very well because I find myself again hoping this time it will be different, that maybe one of these two will fix our country and restore hope. But the truth is that no matter who is elected, they will disappoint us. As always, we are voting for the lesser of two evils. They will not be all that we want them to be just like I am not all that I want myself to be. They will not be the savior that we’ve been looking for. This is not to say that we can’t agree with one position/policy more than another (what they’re selling). But we must keep in mind that, regardless of who wins, they will ultimately fail us. Christian anthropology (view of humanity) is far too low to lead us to any other conclusion.