Thursday, August 23, 2012

“Dirty” Politics, The Attack Advertisement, Name Calling: ah, “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who is…?

We have had a large outcry over Vice President Biden’s use of “chains” and “shackles” in speaking to a black audience about financial entrapments coming out of Wall Street. I am inclined to shrug off such metaphors and also to admire someone who tunes in emotionally to his audience. 

The issue hinges on whether the protests are defensive. If the Vice President was being insulting those who cried out they were being unjust attacked would have previously identified with those fighting up from bondage. If his emotionally evocative words were “too close to home”  – a red and raw response raises eyebrows. I suppose we need to wonder if the sale of risky mortgages and deceptive credit card practices do not feel like shackles and chains to many persons.

All we are working with are our individual perceptions. That awareness arises just from our five senses – and that includes what we overheard our grandfathers muttering. The consequences are that all things appear to us in relational ways, and that just gets magnified around the water cooler and at the hair dresser. 

Take, for instance, that charge scattered about on the media that some politician has called an opponent a “liar.” Perhaps; lying happens. A matter of sin, if one is grounded religiously, but we more often talk about the “spin” about what was said or the judicial editorial red penciling done to a quotation. Facts, like financial figures do get juggled. Please come in Jesus:

                Do not judge, so that we may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged…

Jesus, as always, had astute observations. The Beatitudes are loaded with them. 

The person pronouncing a another person a liar opens to our questioning whether we are not seeing a projection exploding out of the shadows of the attacker’s perceptions, an unintended self description in an unintended way. The ”lie” denounced so publically is a “transference,” if that comes up on your crossword puzzle.

What goes beyond what was in Jesus’ world is our new reality of the 24 hour TV news channel and the need for story. Journalists can play a hard game of “let’s you and him fight” in order to entertain and rack up the viewer ratings.

 ‘Why do you see the speck that is in your neighbor’s eye, but do not see the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, Let me take the speck out of your eye, while the log is in your own eye? 

We hypocrites. Politics is so personnel, and our choice of who we listen to on TV is, too. But it all has the potential of broader perceptions. There is no “splat” of mud slinging that can silence that “still, small voice” from within each of us that is a calling to a widening spiritual maturity. A large forward step is the ability to reach out and try to grasp what the other person is feeling.

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