Sometimes when I consider these dilemmas a song pops into my head. I’ve heard that people die because they have the same song in their head on constant repeat. I suppose there is no way to prove such a theory. We will leave The Clash behind and move onto the subject for the day.
In my first draft of Sunday’s post I mentioned Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (AOC) in passing. She has been taking on the Democratic party and the Biden coalition on Twitter. She went after former Republican governor of Ohio John Kasich because he failed to deliver Ohio for Biden. I’m not sure that was the selling point of him endorsing Biden, but we will leave that where it is at for the time being.
The implication is obvious. The Democrats lost seats in the House and will need to sweep the runoff elections in Georgia to take the Senate. Obviously, appealing to moderate Republicans wasn’t a winning formula for many running for Congress. It was a winning formula for the White House and I’m sure that is what matters to the Biden campaign and those that supported him on the right.
This brings home the point that the question on everyone’s mind is how to best fix what’s broken. We can extend that question beyond politics. I find it interesting that my wife and I typically have different answers to this question on multiple fronts. AOC in her way is arguing for the Democratic party to evolve into a more progressive party. She is probably right on this front. Progressive candidates consistently did well in House elections and the more moderate ones did not.
Being on the inside allows you the opportunity to use your voice to change the group. I’m not a card carrying Democrat but I might as well be. I vote Democratic and I have attended local Democratic events. Being involved means I can use my involvement to help move the party in a direction I think it should go. I can’t do it alone obviously, but if enough of us agree we can get it done.
The downside is that being inside has caused mountains of heartache and also the kinds of issues we saw on the GOP side. It becomes an us versus them world. We run the risk of blindly supporting someone on our team because they are on our team. It’s like cheering on the serial rapist on your sports team because it is your team. If he were on the other team you would boo him unmercifully.
So, remaining independent has its advantages as well. It means you always get to make your decisions based on the people involved and not on party orthodoxy. Unfortunately, you have zero say into the people that those parties throw into the general election. As the creators of South Park said, you could end up choosing between a turd sandwich and giant douche.
The same choices extend beyond politics and into our daily lives. We can choose to be more involved at work where we can help shape the culture and systems in place. We can choose to be more involved with our extended families and help bridge the divides we have seen crop up over the last four years. We can remain involved in our churches and other social organizations and get more involved in how those churches and social organizations manifest their message and carry out their mission.
Or, we can scrap all of that. We can leave it all behind and start over. We get to choose who we spend time with. We get to choose how engaged we will be at work. We get to choose whether we want to find a church community or social group that matches our values and meets our needs. Of course, if none do then we can choose not to do any of those things.
What we know is that our families, friendships, work places, and other social organizations/churches have been poisoned by division, hatred, and intolerance. Not all of them have mind you. We have like-minded friends and family. We have open and inclusive places of work. We have churches that still hold to the missions we fell in love with. Undoubtedly though, each of us has someone or something in mind when I talk about something that has been poisoned.
Do you work to save it or do you cut it out and start over? If you find yourself frustrated with a political party, family member, church, or work family do you try to make it better from the inside or do you leave it to look for something that matches your values? These are hard decisions and I don’t have the answer for you. Each of you will have to answer this for yourself. I wish everyone the best of luck in their journey and know I will always be here thinking about all of you.