Christians, as followers of Jesus Christ, are called to “love thy neighbor as thy
self.” This here is very important to the faith but what exactly does it mean? One can look at it over a dozen times and come up with what he or she thinks the phase represents, but in the end, for me at least, it just means to treat
everyone as a fellow human being and to not do to others that I myself would
not want to be done to me. As a follower of Christ, I am called to do this and
it is how I tend to treat people I meet and know yet, “love thy neighbor” does
not have to be just a Christian belief.
One does not need to be a Christian to have such a mind set to his or her fellow human beings. In fact, human society as a whole could and would benefit greatly if people truly applied such a way of thinking and acting
in all aspects of their lives, especially politics.
Think of it, the number one reason why politics in the United States particularly, at the national level is so divisive is because all sides of the political spectrum tend to instead of just going after the policy issues; they go after the person or people behind them. They attack and demonize their opponents. This would never happen under the pretext of “love
thy neighbor.” One can have plenty of disagreements on something but still see the good in the person or people that one disagrees with.
In politics when one attacks not the policies or beliefs that he or she disagrees with but the persons behind them; all that achieves is to create more disagreement and discord among everybody involved and nothing is able to get done or be achieved.
A very good example of this is back during the 1950s with McArthur and his “witch-hunts” for communist spies and agents in the government and throughout America as a whole. He was right about the threat, but he went about it in all the wrong ways. Instead of building consensus and just educating the public to the threat and trying to shed light on it. He went about attacking just about everybody that he had disagreements with and that
had the slightest bit of suspension no matter how thin it was. In the end he
was finally undone when he went after the military, more specifically Eisenhower’s mentor General Marshal.
Perhaps another good example of why one should not attack the people behind the policy is during the Vietnam War when the protesters attacked the military and the service men. Once that started happening all that the protesters accomplished was to just increase the
divisiveness in the nation and put the nation against its self. It is one thing
to question why the country is fighting in a certain war and to demand we end
doing so, but don’t go after the troops, they are human beings just like the
rest of us and are only doing their duty.
The same thing is in some way happening with certain elements of the Tea Party Movement, where they attack not only the policies that they agree with which is fine and one thing; but they also like a rabid dog, go after anyone who does not 100% agree with them. As a result the Tea Party has lost ground with the American People.
I also see the same thing with our current President, Barrack Obama and his predecessor President George W. Bush. With Bush those who disagreed with him and his policies viscously attacked and made him out to be stupid and dumb. With Obama, he too is attacked and called vile things by some.
There is also the case with liberals and the left attacking those who remain skeptic about global warming and on the gay rights and marriage issue, to name a couple topics. Instead of debating the topic they just attack and dehumanize those who agree with them.
Don’t’ attack the person or people behind the
issue, just the issue. Remember though you may very strongly disagree with what
someone is doing, that individual is still a human being just like you and
anyone and everyone else in the world. The worst thing that you can do is to
dehumanize the person. And of course, the payback of not attacking the person
but just the issues is that you are more likely to be ably to work together and
come up with better solutions than the one you disagree with in the first place,
but that will never happen when you dehumanize the opposition.
Now just treating your political opponents with dignity and respect does not mean that you are compromising your principals or are giving in to them. All it means is that while there may be several deep disagreements between you and them, you still see them as a human being with at the very least good attentions just misplaced or not. Once you do this, most likely the other side will do the same and if they don’t you can at least feel and
know that you have the moral high ground.