Why I’m a Political Atheist: Part 1
I’m okay with people who divinize political power. I used to be one. After reading my fair share of classic and modern political philosophy, I became disillusioned and lost my faith in the power of Politics.
I stay up-to-date on the debates and I vote according to my conscious, but I do so with vapidity.
I don’t believe in the power of the federal government to affect internal change. I haven’t seen it change people in my city, in my home town, on my street. I’ve seen my friends change my city, I’ve seen concerned citizens transform my hometown, but not Washington.
I don’t get stirred at the groupthink evangelistic DNC and RNC conventions where the faithful worship in blind faith … where the fundamentalists gather and pat themselves on the back.
I’ve cut my personal ties to the symbolic immortality that so many within politics seek. If I die, and my political ideology isn’t in power, I’ll be okay. If I die and America isn’t the America of our forefathers, I will still rest in peace. I don’t smoke the opium of politics that promises my tribe’s eternal life if we can only gain back control from the “others.”
All the pie-in-the-sky political talk seems to limit what the faithful do in their own town. The faithful post their token facebook messages, they stick their candidate’s signs in their front yard and may even work with their party’s local chapter, but they’re so idealistically minded that they’re no local good. Where are the faithful when someone next door goes hungry? I’ll tell you where: they’re so busy siting on their easy chair watching CNN, MSN or FOX that they haven’t even noticed the poverty on their own street.
If they spent half the time acting on their ideals instead of talking about them they might actually begin to see the change they’re looking for. Hypocrites. Have you ever met a VERY political person who you would consider a great person? Isn’t it generally assumed that politics turns good people into liars and irrational egoists who breath in their own self made delusional promises?
It seems that politics takes the energy of the many and places it at the feet of the few. And if the many would take their own energy and instead invest it in things they cared about on a local level, the few would take heed and then the system would change.
The faithful will say that political atheists like me aren’t good for society … for civilization … for Washington. And they might be right. I’m not good for Washington. But, if they want to tell it to my face they can find me on the streets of Parkesburg, where I mentor at-risk youth, helping them graduate high school, succeed in the work place and seek higher education.
What really gets me, though, is that those who believe in the power of politics really believe that their brand of laws and government can cause lasting change. As government is the only way to change.
What is “it” that the government can change anyway? And in what way can “it” change? Can the government change the “it” of supposed godlessness in the families of America? Many red bleeding “Christian” republicans think it can. They want God back in the government … because they assume that God likes to work through law?
Can the government change the “it” of poverty in those in the lower class? Many blue hearted liberals think it can. They want the federal government to solve social ills that are intrinsically local and internal by nature. Like trying to catch a whale with a bear trap, they think social ills can be healed by programs and finances.
At this time in the political season, through the drum of political facebook posts, the incessant coverage from CNN, MSN, and FOX, I dig my heels into the ground and become more convinced of my position: I’m an atheist. The all-powerful god of politics doesn’t exist. And he has no power to cause lasting change. If he does exist, he has such limited power that he’s doesn’t deserve the adoration he’s receiving. There’s no historical proof, no proof in personal experience and no reason to believe in the deity of political power.
I’m a political atheist because at the end of the day, politics can’t transform, they can only guide.
Postscript: This is a provocative piece that uses some broad strokes. I’ll remove the black and white tone of this piece in “Part 2.”