As all our readers know, a deranged gunman opened fire on a group of Republicans in Alexandria, VA this morning. The partisans were preparing for a charity baseball game. As of now, five people were shot, including U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), and the gunman was killed by Capitol Hill Police officers.
Nothing I’m about to write should be construed as a way to explain this lunatic’s decision to turn his politics into violence. He chose this.
In spite of his choice, we do find ourselves in the midst of a wretched political culture with plenty of blame to be smeared about. We are polarized. We are working at cross-purposes. We are challenging the legitimacy of our elected leaders. We obstruct. We defend the indefensible. We’ll do almost anything so long as it helps our tribe.
It is tempting at times like this to lapse into a sort of nostalgia, a hope for a time when things were better, when politicians got along, put the nation first, and the system just worked better. Such musings are really a longing for a place that never existed. It is wrong to lament that we’ve lost something we never at any point had.
Instead, we should focus on what we, as believers, can provide a corrosive political environment as we find it. In a world in desperate need of unity, we have Christ. We have the tie that binds like no other. Beyond that unity, we should show the world the love we are commanded to display. Even if people are convinced, I think wrongly, that those of another party or ideology are their “enemies,” we have no choice, as believers, but to love them. We are to pray for our leaders. We are to honor and respect them.
It seems, and perhaps I am naive, that basic, Christian obligations are the things most in need at this moment. There are ways we can work to change our political world, but they must not begin with policy, but a commitment to treat people, even in a political setting, how they deserve to be treated. Until we can do that, we are merely part of the problem.