If you read my post yesterday, you know I’ve been sitting just outside of time for the past week, so it feels a little unexpected for election day to already be upon us.
I thought today might be a good time to talk about politicians and why they do the work they do. Certainly, I can’t speak for all, but I think it is generally true that the reason people go into politics is because they want to make a positive difference in the world.
Pope Francis calls politicians “doers, builders with ambitious goals, possessed of a broad, realistic and pragmatic gaze that looks beyond their own borders.” (Fratelli Tutti 188) Politicians have a heart for the people. It is why they do what they do.
Interestingly, though, some politicians have succumbed to the idea that power is all that matters. They have lost sight of what brought them to this community-serving work.
This is where we come in. Jesus taught us that every life has dignity and that every voice matters. To follow Jesus, then, we have no choice but to become political. We must use our voices to help our leaders return to and focus on what matters: to show a “preferential love to those in greatest need.” (again, Pope Francis in Fratelli Tutti 187)
It may be necessary to pause for just a minute and talk about the difference between being political and being partisan.
Being political means engaging in work that betters society.
Being partisan means voting along party lines, regardless of whether the presented solution is just.
Being political is inherently good. Being partisan is not.
Admittedly, we will never all agree on the perfect solution to a problem. This is what makes political life both difficult and interesting. We all bring different experiences and perspectives to every decision we make. Just as you and I do not unequivocally agree with everything a particular party espouses, neither do our politicians.
Engaging in politics is important because it gives us the opportunity to let our leaders know what matters to us. Throughout their time of representation, our elected officials need to hear from us. They want to know what we think and how we feel. They want to hear about our experiences.
Step 1: If you haven’t yet voted, do so today.
Step 2: Stay engaged, no matter the results of this election.
Our voices matter and so they must be heard, not just every four years, but at all times. Being political is critical to living a faith rooted in Jesus’ life and love. We can do this.