Election musings

Photo by cottonbro studio.

Murray Smith

With our nation ramping up for a general election, as a citizen who loves this beautiful country, I have some concerns.

What follows has a twofold purpose – as my weekly ‘Faith Column’ for Cambridge News, it doubles as an open letter offered without judgement, for the consideration of our politicians and those aspiring to be.

To the politicians… The mistrust and suspicion between political rivals seems deeper and more troubling than ever. With much at stake, I guess it’s understandable to carry the conviction that your party, is the one with the answers for sorting everything out. ‘Crossing swords’ and fervently vying with each other to establish the ‘rightness’ of your cause often ignites aggression and mutual disdain.

I find myself wondering, can room still be found for plain, common decency and respect in delivering reasonable, fair and compelling debate? Is that now perceived as wimpish – ineffective, irrelevant, lacking conviction?

In the light of bruising political realities, am I naive to think gaining ascendancy over clamouring voices you seek to vanquish might be achieved with greater humility and meekness and less antagonistic volume?

As ‘pre-match’ pressure builds, does ‘getting the gloves on,’ mean discarding respect and decency? Many of us voters are looking for dignity, devoid of the snide ridiculing, muck-raking, personal attacks some among your ranks deploy as standard arsenal – tactics unbecoming of anyone deemed ‘fit to lead’. It reveals flawed character and seriously damages credibility. It’s torturous sometimes listening to broadcasts from parliament where MP’s do battle, because of the petulant discourtesy and riotousness that emanates from that place. The pressures on you as politicians is no doubt enormous, but reverting to strutting, combative and aggressive, adversarial displays is surely beneath your station. Parliamentary privilege was never meant to embolden arrogance.

Good on you for putting your hand up. I’m certain your motivation for wanting to be in politics is sincere – to be useful and make a positive difference. But sometimes being ‘useful’ morphs into an idol. When our usefulness becomes the ultimate thing, our usefulness becomes our identity. We reduce ourselves and others down to a tool for a specific function. At that point you’ve entered dangerous territory where you begin to lose yourself in maintaining a persona. And your bias leads you to believe that the end justifies whatever means are called for. Compromise follows. Also, if your ‘usefulness’ is the thing that defines and satisfies you, will you be okay should that usefulness ever be taken away?

Seeking recognition, personal ambition and power, quickly corrupts unless moderated by a genuine heart to serve…not to control. Many in our nation are praying for ‘servant-hearted’ government- strong leadership carrying a mana of authority and integrity, a love for truth and Godly wisdom.

Should you gain success and enter our 54th Parliament, will you remember these words from a leader endowed with more wisdom than anyone?

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people – Proverb of King Solomon.

It’s likely MMP will compel parties to work together in forming a new government – may you find grace to do it well.

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