REFLECTION: Politics and charity PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 21 November 2014 11:43



Getting into this topic, I know, is like pushing a lamb into the company of wolves. Implausible as it may seem, we just have to pray that the lamb can survive by following what Christ indicated: be shrewd like serpents but innocent like doves.

Truth is, politics has to be humanized and Christianized through charity. It just cannot be left alone, fully at the mercy of our passions, brute force and worldly elements. It too can and should be a way to our sanctification. Yes, I mean that seriously.

Politics ought to be pursued always in charity. It cannot be any other way, since charity is the mother of all virtues and good values. If we want justice, truth and fairness, charity has them all. If we want competence, order, discipline, etc., again charity has them. If we want objectivity, charity has it. Charity covers all our needs.

Politics is a human necessity. As social beings who have to take care of one another, we need to undertake a continuing process of organizing ourselves so that we can attain our common good. For this, we have to activate the social principles of solidarity and subsidiarity as best as we could, a tricky task, to say the least.

That’s why we have a government and many other structures, social, cultural, economic, etc., to attend to our different needs, and we elect leaders and officers to run these organizations. This is the nature, purpose and mechanics of politics.

But just like anything human, we will always have some problems. It seems that we like to create problems, which should also not be viewed exclusively in a negative way, since these problems only show we are humans, and they point to us where our weaknesses are and where we should improve. They are a golden opportunity for God’s grace to descend on us. So, let’s just be sport in all this.

Our main problem at the moment is that the lofty nature of politics is often corrupted and its objective frustrated by the ugly workings of the otherwise legitimate pursuit for power, an integral part of politics.

Now that election time is coming, we are at present confronted with the raw shenanigans of politicians. All of sudden, we seem to have a storm surge of mudslinging, demolition jobs, orchestrated p.r. campaigns to practically canonize a politician and demonize another.

The spectacle is actually very funny and ridiculous, but it continues even up to now in spite of all the advances in our sciences, arts, technologies and communication. It seems that in the area of political culture, we continue to lag behind, to hardly emerge from the savagery of the Stone Age.

Instead of being discerning, prudent and nuanced in our judgments and assessments of politicians, we readily fall into simplistic, black-and-white ways of thinking and reasoning. We tend to dogmatize and absolutize our preferences and opinions, hardly giving any credit to the opposing positions of the others.

In short, we tend to listen only to ourselves. Reckless generalizations and labeling are made. Some, for example, blame the ‘masa’ for being unthinking in their choices. But I have also listened to the so-called intelligentsia and in many instances have also found their conclusions overworked and unfair.

I suppose that to be realistic we have to consider all politicians to have something good to offer and also some baggage that they suffer. Let’s just sort things out slowly and calmly, weighing them carefully, hoping to make a workable, fair balance.

Let’s remember that as one movie blurb put it, every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future. We are always a work in progress. We can go either up or down, though we should always hope and work together that we always go north rather than south.

Let’s avoid getting wild with our judgments, practically getting mad with praises for the favored politician or running amok with burning hatred for the unfavored. Let’s play it cool

We have to look first at the competence of the politicians to deliver the goods we need, since this is the immediate expectation we have from them. We have to see that they are capable of good governance, even if they continue to be sinners as we all, in varying degrees, are.

As to their moral life, let’s just help them to be upright and to always feel the need for conversion. As to their legal problems, let us have our legal system take care of them. As much as possible, we avoid media circus because of these.