Our culture’s politicization is evident. The simple drive down 281 South from San Antonio to Corpus Christi used to be marked by the flat Texas countryside, with expansive farmlands and not much else. This weekend I noticed a new feature “” a large, low-to-the-ground billboard that read, “Hillary lied, and four men died.” More so than perhaps any point in our country’s brief history, we care deeply about who gets elected and who does not, despite its relatively minimal impact on our day-to-day lives.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “A sick society must think much of politics, as a sick man must think much of digestion; to ignore the subject may be fatal cowardice for the one as for the other. But if either comes to regard it as the natural food of the mind “” if either forgets that we think of such things only in order to be able to think of something else “” than what was undertaken for the sake of health has itself become a new and deadly disease.” America’s founders were both innovative and humanly flawed, like all of us. Most importantly, they romanticized a land not concerned with the political nuances, infatuated with elite politicians who were inherently incapable of understanding the ordinary lives of their countrymen. Their president, George Washington, did not intend to be a beloved ruler, and remarked in one of his letters, “it is my great and sole desire to live and die, in peace and retirement on my own farm.” Their vision of a non-politicized nation, untainted by self-serving, individualistic behavior, is proving to be ephemeral.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the direct antitheses of the founders’ political “philosophy,” as Margaret Thatcher once called it. Each candidate stakes their campaign on a frightening brand of messianism, asserting that only they can “save” the country “” and provide its inhabitant’s a realer, fulfilling meaning.
A few weeks ago at a conference in North Dakota, Trump said, “Politicians have used and stolen your votes. They’ve given you nothing. I will give you everything.” Everything? What exactly does he mean, everything? Unfortunately, claims like this allowed him to win the Republican primary, and put him in the position to face Clinton, whose mantra she herself has described as a “politics of meaning.” She has decried Americans’ lack of true purpose and believes wholeheartedly that a collective political mindset shared by Americans everywhere is the first step towards achieving the quixotic progressive concept of an earthly utopia.
It does not take a doctor to diagnose our country’s political system as broken. It is too prevalent a topic in society for us to be considered healthy humans. Too many of us identify first and foremost as our political affiliation. “Freedom” is a corrupted term. When one seeks freedom in the realm of politics, it should mean freedom from government interference into our communities, our businesses and thusly from our personal lives. Freedom to determine for ourselves what is really important in this world. Freedom from the idiocracy perpetuated by popular media, politically-crazed academics and power-hungry politicians. It starts with us, the millennial generation.
Our idealistic nature must dedicate itself to things like loving others, personal responsibility and finding purpose in things that matter, not empty fantasies of political saviors and the wholeness they promulgate.