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Hiding behind ‘politics’

Politics: The science and art of government, concerned with the form, organization and administration of a state or states and the relationship between states. Political: Of or having to do with governing or a government; governmental. Political Science: The science of the principles and conduct of government.

Glad we’ve got that out of the way.

It is upsetting to realize the number of people who believe their conspiracy theories, hate, racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, intentional ignorance (and intentional spreading of lies), and general stubborn refusal to be their best selves is a matter of “politics.”

Folks, no. These are matters of morality and ethics. These are matters of right and wrong.

We don’t get to choose which laws/rules/guidance we follow by labeling some “politics” when they fly in the face of who we think we are.

How have we gotten turned so far upside down?

How did we let a few politicians and pundits manipulate us into chest-beating displays of the absolute worst versions of ourselves, and convince us that those attributes are linked to a particular political party — in fact, convince us that support of the leader of that political party is the best way to preserve all that non-political stuff?

During the funeral for Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., former President George W. Bush, a Republican, said something important. He reminded Americans that the civil rights leader preached the Gospel — and tried to live up to it, “insisting that hate and fear had to be answered with love and hope.”

My goodness, how do we do that? There is so much hate and fear. It seems to be fueling some people right now, and far too many hide behind the idea that their opinions are simply a matter of “politics.”

The idea of wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as anything political is particularly absurd. But it is an easier position from which to attack someone than those other, thornier issues (on which I happen to believe that deep down, some of these folks understand they are wrong, and are just too proud to admit it).

Imagine being an older gentleman who felt bold enough to walk up to a man in his 20s at the gym and give him a hard time for wearing a mask while working out. The man who told me that story said “I tried the ‘I’m just wearing it for YOUR protection,’ angle. I didn’t want to get into it with him. I wasn’t trying to be confrontational, but he wasn’t having it.”

Why? What difference does it make to the other person if someone is wearing a mask — particularly considering there are executive orders in place that say we should AND we know it helps stop the spread of a deadly disease.

Another favorite tactic for those who have decided to make masks a political matter is to call those who understand wearing one is the right thing to do “sheep.” A friend of mine put it perfectly. “‘Sheep’ is a strange insult for Christians to use,” she said. “Matter of fact, an insult is a strange thing for a Christian to use …”

I couldn’t agree more. None of it makes any sense.

Treat others (everyone) as you would want to be treated. Take care of one another. Examine your behavior, your beliefs and your motivations and try to be the BEST version of yourself you can be. None of that has anything to do with the political party with whom you are registered. (And, by the way, you can change that. It doesn’t have to be the same as your friends or other members of your family, or even as a younger version of yourself.)

Be willing to admit if you’ve been wrong about something; or if you’ve made a mistake.

I have been wrong — a LOT. I’ve made lots of mistakes. The good news, is we get to move forward from that.

It’s certainly not a matter of “politics” to say we have to try.

Christina Myer is executive editor of The Parkersburg News and Sentinel. She can be reached via e-mail at cmyer@newsandsentinel.com

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