There has been much said about the negativity of our politicians and the political atmosphere in Australia. When he recently ascended to office our Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, indicated a desire for the transformation of this. As we get closer to the election the negativity appears to eb continuing.
for example, as an avid watcher of Q & A I am continually disappointed in the lack of respect shown by our elected representatives for one another. This week was no exception. Constantly interupting and speaking over each other is standard practice whilst the moderaotr Tony Jones rather than dampening down the vitriol often adds fuel to the fire with his own questions or opinions.
Maybe this is a reflection of the adverserial Westminster system of govenrment that we have in Australia? Maybe it is a reflection that our political parties are far closer in policy than any would like to admit so they have to ‘go hard’ on the issues where they do differ? Maybe it is a reflection of a loss of common decency and honouring others in our society?
Whatever, the case my disappointment with politicians is equally matched by my disappointment with the general pubilc. There is a plethora of offensive comments that pop up as I follow the Q&A Facebook feed. Comments made by everyday Australians which mirror the personal attacks, negativity and simple rudeness we seem to be nurturing as a culture.
The question I am left with is not simply ‘who will I vote for?’ but ‘as a Christian how will I behave in a way which brings something positive and life-giving to this situation?’ If I decide to comment on Facebook or Twitter or elsehwere how will it be a transforming message which builds up the whole? Will I refrain for responding to attacks with more negativity and be able to turn the other cheek? Do I have the capacity to listen carefully to the voice of others? Can I see what might be positive in those who hold a different view to mine? How will my faith and knowledge of a loving and forgving God moderate my thoughts and comments?
We have quite a few weeks until the election in the meantime there is an opportunity whether we support a particular party or not to weigh carefully our comments and behaviour. How can we show grace towards those we agree with and those we disagree with? what does love look like in politics?