Deconstruction is usually a scary word and one I really don’t like to use. But I believe it explains how I got to where I am today with my political views. The idea behind deconstruction is you tear an idea or set of ideas down in order to rebuild them. It can be dangerous depending on how it is used. For instance many people will deconstruct their view of God and then reform it in their own way. But that’s not what I am talking about. And I did not really choose to deconstruct my views on politics. It just sort of happened.
The political climate nowadays is very confusing and volatile. I wanted to write my story in an attempt to help those processing this election. This first part will be more of background while the second part will be about my thought process as of today.
First Things First
I grew up Southern Baptist. Like most Southern Baptist families, my parents voted Republican. But I will give them credit they never made it seem like this is how I am supposed to vote because its what Christians do. They did explain the issues and showed how they believed the Republican party was the better of the two. The Republican party did appear to have the same values as my Christians faith. In addition to my parents’ influence, I had teachers and older believers point to the Republican Party as well. During the Bush presidency, I was heavily involved in politics. I really didn’t think I was wrong but there was very little back then that I thought I was wrong about. And so I convinced myself that Republican was the only way to go. I would argue against anyone who thought otherwise. But that began to change when I was 19.
The Change Begins
I view the year when I was 19 as a very big year in my life. It was when I really started following Jesus. I switched churches and colleges. The college was Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. And so it made it easy to continue with my Republican ways. However, I began to run into Christians who voted Democrat. I would argue with them.Then the McCain vs. Obama election came up. And it was huge topic of discussion at the Seminary. However, I started noticing in myself that I really didn’t fully support McCain. In fact, the reason I voted for him was because he was Republican. This did not line up with what I was learning in school which was to think critically and decide based upon the issues. I really started to question how I looked at politics.
Around 2010 to 2011, I began to be disillusioned with politics in general. I stopped being as involved. I also focused on other things like philosophy and theology. The Republican party just was not making sense to me with what I was learning. And I was no longer a one issue voter with that issue being abortion. I also began to notice that maybe things in America weren’t going to get better through politics. Around this time, I also switched churches to the Rooted Church (now City Church). This was the first church I went to that did not seem to push politics as the way to change America. But instead put the emphasis on the Gospel to change. I also began to have conversations with Christians who did not vote. They believed they needed more information to vote and they did not have the bandwidth to research it. Now I began to think about this more and more as the 2012 election approached.
The 2012 election was approaching. At this time I was disillusioned with the Republican party. I was disappointed that no change had come through politics. I was apathetic towards politics. I tought about what I was going to do during this election. I considered not voting at all. Because I could not really support either Romney or Obama. But I believed if I did not vote then I would not have a reason to talk about politics. So I kept going back and forth in my mind. The election day came which meant it was time to decide. And because I could not support any candidate. I decided it would be best not to vote and to step away from politics for a time, maybe forever. When I made this decision, there a strange peace that came over me. The affected me for the next few years.
Following this decision to leave politics behind, there were a couple of things that happened. One is that I followed pretty closely to the path about not talking about politics for I had chosen not participate in the voting. This included not complaining about the current president. I would be around these conversations and I would listen but I would not participate in the conversations. Two is that I was able to focus my mind on other things and not all of them were good. But I began to leave my old ways of thinking behind and began to grow new ways of thinking. And my mind soon began to be a ground to accept and participate in politics once again.
To Be Continued…