If two people negotiate their plans for lunch, they have engaged in politics. If a family shares different expectations for vacation, politics is the process that strives to align everyone.
Every small business, classroom, community church, team, HOA, or group is political. At first, smaller organizations align people around a common goal or purpose that brings individuals into something bigger than themselves. For example: a softball team is capable of more softball experiences than a single player in their yard.
As organizations get bigger, greater infrastructure is required to promote the common goal of the group. As the group gets bigger it bears greater influence within the larger culture and at a certain point becomes its own sub-culture or counter culture. A great example here is religion.
By the time we get to the agenda of a city, state, country or world power we are talking about the monumental task of influencing and organizing hundreds of millions of people. Obviously not all people share a common goal, be it lunch or the foreign policy, and so the net effect is a binary system of winners and losers. Every organization reaches a size where its “bigger purpose” becomes secondary to its self interests. Regardless of size, those with the power get to establish the rules and the goals of the group. Thus power is the central thrust behind all politics.
I think most people have eyes to see this and no doubt everyone of us has felt the bite of the powerful when we dissented from the herd sometime. It always feels bad. The system is designed to crush the stray. Remember Church and State put Jesus on the cross.
Too often the stray begins its own organization so that it too can can have power and take on its opponent. This happens in a school yard when one is outnumbered by bullies and then recruits others to get even. If we can see it here, we must gain eyes to see it in the big show going on right before our eyes in the daily news.
Big politics is big power.
Big politics only succeeds by getting people to pick sides. If the power machine can lure you into alignment with either side, then it gains power. If the schoolyard divides and rally’s behind the kids, then the fight expands. If a wise neutral party, a third way, can intervene the power diffuses.
Despite the arguments of big politics, neither side has ever taken anyones freedom, all freedom is freely abdicated by each of us when we pick a team. The power to take our freedom was given to the politics machine when we voted our party line. Most of us don’t see this. We just assume we have to join a team and like sheep
United people are a threat to institutions. We don’t need to create an opposite power, we need only take back our power and the machine will die. It is the most basic truth of all politics, and it is the crux of why the machine works so hard to keep us distracted, angry, and fearful. So long as we feel we need to fight, then the machine wins. Politics runs on self-interest. Love of others and self emptying is a power strong enough to dissolve the petty impulses of what fuels our politics and competition.
Sadly, the vast majority of people cannot see this aspect of reality. Most would rather fight than love because it doesn’t require the soul work of humility. But things are changing. There is a growing minority that has regained its power, it has learned to love again. It has gained the eyes to see the “man behind the curtain” in our real life version of Oz. This group is going to change the world.
Politics is the perfect subject to access this core component of our heart. Next Tuesday we will be tested. Will we abdicate our power by giving it to one side of the same machine or will we join the ground swell of people who say enough is enough? We cannot complain about the brawl in the school yard if we pick up sticks and join in. The one who shows up with guns and shoots all the kids has hardly solved the problem.
We must have eyes to see that the war is not “out there” against “those people“, but within each of us as we own our prejudices, fears, and our indignations.
We have the power to pull people out of the fight and restore order to the world. It’s the power of love. It is the greatest power in the world. Any religion that says it loves but votes for war is completely false (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Those who are brave enough to do the work of love are called the people of God, the Church.