Last night, Bernie and I watched a debate between Bill O’Reilly of Fox News and John Steward of “The Daily Show”. It was, of course, funny. Steward, almost a full foot shorter than O’Reilly had himself on a platform that he could raise whenever he wanted to exert power over his opponent and lower it when he felt humiliated. There was a lot of good humored teasing grounded in the respect the two men had for one another in spite of their political differences. It felt way better than watching the debates between our current candidates.
What really felt good, though, was to hear Steward give voice to my own beliefs. When challenged to throw his support for one candidate over the other, he hesitated. “You just have to choose between these two men,” he said. Neither is the perfect scenario, he implied. This is where I am at.
I have my own sense of where we are as a nation. The solutions offered by the candidates are vague for the simple reason that they are beyond my brain capacity. I hear them throw out numbers…Trillions of dollars? Really?…and my grey matter starts to melt. But, while I don’t know who to believe about numbers, I do have this: a philosophy of life based on my Christian faith.
I believe in what Jesus taught about caring for the poor and the sick among us. I believe him when he said, “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.” I believe in fairness driven by scripture’s words: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I believe that these words are to be taken into my individual heart and into our collective heart as a nation and as citizens of the earth.
So…if I want health care for myself and those that I love, I am to want it equally for those who haven’t been able to find employment with companies that provide it. If I have the benefit of being able to get preventative care in a clinic of my choosing rather than having to go to an emergency room every time I get sick, I desire the same for my brother. This is a no-brainer for me. It is my Christian ethic. I don’t know how to make it all work – that is in the grey matter. This is a heart matter.
The words of Jesus ring true for me also in the world of foreign affairs. Am I satisfied with children having to live in war zones as long as my own children and grandchildren are safe? Not on your life! “Bring the children to me,” Jesus said. “Bring them to my house,” I want to say, “then you adults can whack each other to bloody pieces.”
I know what I believe about the problems of our sick world. I don’t know the answers of how to solve the problems. I try to weigh the solutions on the scale offered me by Jesus, the one that rests on a base of love. On the day of voting in November, I will do the best I can to speak with my voice. But it feels like my voice is just one of the many crying in the wilderness.