I’m not one to throw myself passionately into politics, as you may or may not be aware.
Quite frankly, a lot of it bores me. Switching the TV on to a scene of a lot of old farts in stuffy suits, attempting to argue whilst holding marbles in their mouths and prefixing every remark with “the honourable gentleman”, is guaranteed to instantly turn me off. Plus there’s my previously mentioned apathy and fatalism – difficult to become enthused about something if you can’t see how it’s going to make any difference to anything, right? And of course, there’s the additional hindrance of having grown up as a John Lennonesque sixties-style hippyish dreamer in Northern Ireland – and, more specifically, Ballymena. Politics, to me, meant bickering, sectarianism, bitterness, idiocy, hateful murals and vicious graffiti. So I steered well clear of it all, locking myself away from the nonsense, refusing to follow the news, and playing Imagine at full volume in my room. I’m like a child who sticks her fingers in her ears and yells “Na-na-na, I can’t hear you!”, only I’ll be singing rousing peace anthems instead.
However. It has become something of an impossibility to avoid all the hoo-hah about The Big Election, even having managed to sail through the last few months blissfully unaware of any details more specific than the names of the major candidates. Yesterday, to my genuine surprise, I found myself reading about the U.S. Electoral College system in an effort to educate myself; today, I was halfway through an interesting blog post about the potential effects of the results on Baltic and Scandinavian countries before I even realised it. And last night, having read and inquired about a little walk that was taking place in London, involving a group of people in Guy Fawkes masks, I found myself being forced to watch V for Vendetta – which turned out to be one of the best films I have ever seen, and perhaps the most disturbing. But that’s another post, I suppose. The point is, I think I’m shedding some apathy. Yikes.
To return to my main point (I think I had one), I still don’t have any particularly strong feelings about the U.S. election, nor about the new president, nor about the defeated candidate and his sidekick. What is getting me pretty riled up, though, is the astonishing series of Facebook status updates on the subject. Now, I don’t claim for a second to know what the atmosphere is like in certain parts of America right now; to know what it feels like to have a strong preference for a particular political party and then have to watch that party lose; to know what it’s like to worry about raising your family in such an uncertain economic climate. I do, however, know that it’s pointless to gripe about something when it’s done, just because it didn’t go your way – and the constant flow of negative, depressed status updates along the lines of “everything’s going to hell”, “it’s the end of the world as we know it” and “hello Communism” have me completely baffled. The most amazing thing about it to me is that the majority of these bitter, hopeless assessments come from devout Christians.
Now, obviously the problem here is the fact that Obama is clearly the Antichrist. That’s evident to anyone who knows the Bible. I’m not suggesting for one moment that it’s utterly outrageous to attack and condemn another human being before he’s even had a chance to prove himself, based on evidence as overwhelming as him (a) being popular with the masses, (b) having a first name that rhymes with “Iraq”, “Hussein” as a middle name and a surname that’s almost “Osama”, and (c) promising to work towards peace. It’s quite clear from that that he’s here to lead the world straight into the Tribulation.
No – no, you know what? I can’t even do the sarcasm thing here, because I want to scream. This sort of thing is exactly what has led me to drift further and further away from the fundamentalist, closed-minded and quite honestly verging on insane version of Christianity that I allowed myself to become entangled with in Norn Iron. I won’t let anyone tell me that I’m not a Christian; however, I’ll be horrified if anyone thinks it means I’m this sort of prejudiced, bigoted, irrational… well, OK, I’m a bit irrational. But definitely not the other two.
Here’s the thing. Even if this Obama guy is the Antichrist, even if he has a series of devilish plots up his sleeve for the destruction of humanity, even if he is basically a satan in a suit (and I swear, that is what a large number of people seem to believe)…
Aren’t Christians meant to trust in God?
So what is the point of all this hate mongering, hysteria and woe-is-us caterwauling? Even if you firmly believe the whole Antichrist story, which you’re perfectly entitled to do, surely you should then believe that if Obama is the One, he had to come to power in order for prophecy to be fulfilled? So what’s the surprise? Why all the bitching, if you were convinced of his identity and therefore knew that there was no preventing his election victory?
But what gets me even more is the sheer childishness of this bizarre “now we’re done for” attitude in the first place. What about hope? What about faith? What about not judging your brother? What about loving your neighbour? What about – here’s a meek suggestion – not deciding that a fellow human being, innocent until proven guilty, who has worked hard and wants to make an effort to pull a struggling nation up and out of troubled times, is the Antichrist? What about giving him a shot (I wouldn’t normally feel the need to clarify that I’m not proposing the assassination of the new president, but now I’m too scared not to) and sharing in the fresh hope and excitement of the rest of your nation? What is the point of all this doom and gloom? What will it change? What will it achieve?
What’s done is done. Stop the superior, “people should’ve listened to me, I know better” whining, and give the sulking a rest. It won’t change anything, and it’s just making you sound like a spoiled child.
I feel the need to apologise for this post, because I’m generally too afraid of offending people to risk posting about What I Really Think. But I’m not going to.
I can be all superior too, you know.