Can We Not Talk About Politics?
Hello everyone! It’s great to connect with you guys again. Before I go further, how are you doing? I hope well during these difficult times. I’m honored to present to you for the first time on the show our first guest speaker and will be with us for many more shows in the future. Let me introduce you to Roger Lall. He is the Executive-in-Residence and Director of MS in Marketing Program and also a professor at DePaul University, the nation's largest Catholic university. He’s a fervent believer of Christ. Roger and I shared the same faith and go to Willow Creek Community Church. Let me tell you something too Roger that I’m sure many have said about you. You’re one of the most humble individuals that I've ever met. It makes me constantly think about how to be the same whenever I think about you. I pray you do stay like that, very powerful and impactful brother. I’m thrilled to have you here, Roger. How are you doing? I am fine, Kedler. Thank you for those very kind words. That is very kind of you. And I do appreciate your heart serving people, caring for people, and being compassionate. So, I commend you for what you do. Thank you so much, Roger! Again it's pleasing to meeting you. Anything else you want to tell the audience before you dive-in to our subject today? Nothing in particular. Our topic for today is can we not talk about politics? I’m sure many of you guys are excited to hear from Roger on this topic. Roger the mic is yours. Tell us. Thank you, Kedler. You are welcome!
Conventional wisdom suggests that we should listen to people with different views. However, in the case of politics, often our views are so deeply entrenched that it’s very hard to alter one’s position by discussions and deliberations. In today’s highly divided, and polarized society, the safe thing to do is to refrain from bringing up political issues in a conversation. But that begs a question: Which issues are really political? Often, I notice people state that they don’t want to talk about politics when they find someone whose political views are different. In other words, when we are surrounded by the like-minded people, with similar political views, it’s ok and safe to talk about politics. Politics influence local, national, and international policies. Our sources of information, i.e. news outlets, are influenced by one’s political disposition. Those sources of information then further reinforce and strengthen our viewpoints. The type of people we feel safe to discuss our views is influenced by the degree to which we share common political perspectives. Recently, wearing of masks seems to be influenced by one’s political disposition. Use of vaccines seems to be influenced by one’s political disposition. Views about the climate change topic seem to be influenced by one’s political disposition. Efforts involved in building a sense of community, with deeper and meaningful relationships, can be easily diluted because of the different political views. Our sense of unity can rapidly diminish when the political differences manifest in our conversations. Then immediate barriers are built in our minds, and boundaries are erected. Subsequently, antennas are raised to interpret all incoming signals as tainted by their political views. It seems how we interpret the Bible is influenced by one’s political disposition. Interpretation of caring for the least among us (Matthew 25:31-46) often diverges based on the political leanings. Actually, it should be other way around. The Bible should influence our political position. The true test of our faith is in how we care for the poor, vulnerable, marginalized, and forgotten people in our society. We must speak up when there is injustice. We must speak up when there are lies that are being propagated. We must speak up when conspiracy theories are being promoted resulting in collateral damage. We must speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). So, can we not talk about politics? Well, we should. It’s the elephant in the room that needs to be acknowledged. It’s hard to ignore. In conclusion, to engage in a conversation and debate about politics with people holding opposite views is futile. To ignore and avoid this topic is to live in denial. What then is the solution? Patience, Compassion, and Action. O how I need to be more patient and compassionate towards those whose political views are different! To accept them without embracing their viewpoints. To respect them without endorsing their viewpoints. Next, comes the action part. To take positions that are true to the teachings of Christ. To speak up when there’s injustice. To speak the truth in love. To work on the solutions to bring about systemic changes.
Thank you so much Roger for your willingness to share on such a delicate subject that causes so much division in this world. Your insight brings it more relevant to our lives and how we shouldn’t be afraid to engage in this type of discussion as it will better shape us to hear from one another and work together for the betterment of humanity. Roger, do you have anything else you would like to add so we can close our podcast for today? ——— Thank you, Kedler once again for the work you are doing. It's a commendable thing. Just to summarize, I wanted to highlight. Generally, when the topic of politics comes up, we tend to think about two options. Option one is to engage in a conversation, to debate, to discuss, to bring different new points, and to me, that is not the most prudent thing because it doesn't change anyone's mind. A second option is to avoid the topic completely which is to live in denial and suppress your viewpoints. I have discovered this third option that I am now trying to live by. The third option is to respect people who have different views, to accept them without embracing their viewpoints. But at the same time, we must not be quiet when there is injustice in the society like what is happening now in our society. We must speak up. We must shed the light on the dark side, on the injustice, the systematic racism. We must speak up and we must speak the truth in love and with kindness. And work on finding solutions to address these problems in society. But not to engage in debates and discussions to respect the person and then to move on to the next topic. This is very smart on your third point. A lot of times we try to avoid the discussion but it doesn't really fix the problem. The problem in itself in there. Listen and respect and speak up on the injustice. I think that is powerful. Again, thank you so much Roger for being on the show. We are hoping to have you in many of our show that is coming in the future. Alright, thank you Kedler for having me on your show. I appreciate that. My pleasure, Roger! My friends, I had fun learning from Roger and I hope you did too. I’ll connect with you soon but until then may you be safe and healthy! Your brother, friend, and mentor. Kedler