Today is the New Hampshire Primary. The good people of NH will have to chose between 5 imperfect candidates that the GOP has trotted out for this year's election. Then will come South Carolina. Before you know it it will be Super Tuesday, then the Convention and the GOP will put their flawed candidate against the flawed Democrat candidate, we will pick the one who we believe will do the lesser damage and rest for a few months before we start talking about the 2016 presidential elections. In November, millions of flawed individuals will vote for their flawed candidates and we will be saddled with 4 years of flawed leadership. Now, before anyone thinks I have finally jumped in the deep end of the pool of cynicism, I am still in the kiddy pool. All these flawed people are just your average human beings. My only compliant is that we will have all these flawed individuals voting based out of their vested interest, whether or not that interest is in the best interest of the country as a whole. We wonder why things are a mess.
This is nothing new under the sun. It is probably exacerbated by voters who think the only job of government is to make their personal life better. It does not matter whether it is the person who thinks if only the government would quit taking boatloads of their money, their lives would be so much better or it the person who believes that if the government would only send them boatloads on someone else's money their lives would be so much better, it is all the same. It is the same template: Candidate A or B will get me what I want so I will vote for candidate A or B. Want to guess why we are in so much debt with no real will to not keep piling up more debt? So it goes, even if for me to get what I want means other people have to be plundered or forgotten, so be it. Such is the lot for those who place their faith in the things of this world: wealth, power, and pleasure.
Me? I don't place my hope and my future on the whims of politics or politicians. It seems a foolish thing to do. Not to sound like a certain evangelical TV preacher who has a tendency to sound dotty once in a while, I think we are trying to find answers for the bigger questions in life from those incapable of answering them. While I do want a happy life, I know that most of that happiness will come from my decisions and choices and from what I hold to be important. No government official can do that for me. It is unfair to believe any person can. I decided on another rout about a year and half ago. What worried me was my finances. I was deeply in debt and worried about how I would ever be able to catch up. I went through cycle of running up bills, getting loans to pay bills, running up bills again, and so on. Finally, I knew the only way to combat this was to change the routine. Over the next 18 months I paid off all of the debt without taking on loans. That meant living simply. No movies (okay, 1), no concerts, simple vacations, very little new anything. Now the debt is gone, I found out that living simply suited me, and I do not worry about finances now. In this process, I found the endless pursuit of more and better had left me with lots of stuff I didn't need or use and a mountain of debt. No government official can do that for me! I don't need someone else's money to make me happy, I am more at peace now than I have ever been. But financial freedom is not the only reason or the major reason.
The major reason is that, although I am a priest, I had let love for the things of this world get in the way of my devotion to God. I used material wealth to try and satiate what should have been God's. Now, that relationship with God expands because I have found His grace and help to be more satisfying than anything this world had to offer. How do you think I was able to have the self-control to pay off the debt? I asked for His help. I also found that without the worries of the world pressing down on me, I was much more effective as a priest because my head was where it needed to be. Furthermore, it has affected how I am a pastor and how I guide this parish of which I am pastor. I now know why Canon Law tells priest to live simple lives. Silly me for not taking it seriously. My happiness does not hinge on a politician and their empty promises nor on the accumulation of this world's goods. I found a place that was worthy of my devotion and love; my parish, My relationship with God, my family, and my friends.
My attitude about politics is simple: good governance enables the individual to what is good and right. Such is not the case with our government. Our government forces people in the medical professions to act against their conscience when it comes to abortion and contraception. It provokes greed and envy as a way of getting votes. It provokes class warfare and any other divisive means it can to cater to the absolute worst in humanity. It is reckless. Placing my faith there? Not so much! I want better! It rewards the old abandonment of faith for Catholics if they wish to win in public office. The old "I will not allow my faith to influence how I vote" is a load of nonsense. If faith means nothing in the public prevue, then why bother having it? Faith is not a talisman meant to hedge our bets just in case there is some divine entity out there who doesn't mind being routinely ignored. You vote where your faith and happiness lie; as Christ said," where your treasure is, there your heart will be." I have seen the crap that the world unloads as treasure. It is temporary and destructible and can be seized at any given moment. So I am not looking for love there. No one who calls themselves a Christian should. Civil governments have failed for millennia to provide universal happiness. Why do we keep looking to them? Elections come and go. The same exact promises have been made every election cycle for as long I can remember with little to no positive change. I want more and better, which is why I am looking for love, so to speak, in all the right places.