The following is a column I wrote for Grandin Media as a reflection on the negative cloud that has hovered over this year’s Alberta provincial election, and the lesson it offers Christians regarding integrity:
I have a love/hate relationship with politics.
On the one hand, I recognize that it is a gift to live in a country like Canada, where many of us take our right to vote and to publicly complain about our elected officials – a privilege not available in significant parts of the world – for granted.
On the other hand, I find that election years can bring out some of the worst of our political process. It seems like all too often, election campaigns focus less on actual policies and more about the character (either real or assumed) of the individuals who let their names stand for public office.
While attack campaigns are nothing new, the age of the Internet and social media seems to bring a whole new shine on the ugliness of these tactics. What we’ve seen happen in some campaigns is a “deep dive” into the public history of one’s opponent. This dive scours the things they have said, written, or posted online or otherwise, seeking something controversial (or downright offensive) that could be used against them.
In some cases, what’s found comes from decades ago and can be as short as a single spoken or written line. It’s a good reminder that today, very little is private, as these inquiries can include any social media post, comment, or meme can become ammunition for one’s opposition.
During the last provincial election, a colleague of mine commented that he was grateful social media didn’t exist when he was in high school or university: he couldn’t imagine what a scouring of his past comments would reveal. I think his sentiments would be echoed by many among us but mercifully, most of us are not held to the same standard as our political representatives.
We are held to a higher standard. Jesus couldn’t be clearer on that point.
(To read the rest of the column, follow the link below…