Thursday, November 13, 2008

Polarizing Politics and Plastic People

A/N: I wrote this particular piece on November 12, 2007, and I just didn't have the heart to delete it. It's old, but I hope that it still applies. 

Since I got out of school on Thursday (which is yesterday, I admit), I've been watching a lot of TV. Since I'm also politically active, I've been watching all the political debates on YouTube and seeing what the candidates have to say here on our blessed MySpace. As I watch TV and YouTube, I've become aware of the fact that the extremes in our society seem to have become more pronounced.

Let's take the issue of abortion for instance. This issue has polarized sides for several decades now, and has served to split and destroy entire communities, whatever angle you choose to look at it. But now, this issue has become so polarizing that entire political groups are based on it. This is where the government saying what we can or cannot do becomes a problem. You have the exact situation that we have now with everyone at everyone else's throat over it. By no means am I saying that the issue is not important; I sincerely believe it is. But this is an example of how many people become so separated on the issue that they can't see beyond what's right in front of their feet.

The war in Iraq is another great example of this "Great Divide." Either you are so for it that you paint your entire house in the pattern of the American flag and put yellow ribbons in each window, or you are so against it that you take every chance to bash every political leader that comes on TV. We didn't have this polarization during World War II, I promise you that. What the war of Iraq does remind me of is the Civil War, with some reservations. In the North, the Civil War was called "Mr. Lincoln's War." Abraham Lincoln was tremendously ridiculed by everyone around him. The North and his colleagues thought he was completely off his rocker, and of course the entire South hated him. It wasn't until the mid-20th century that he became recognized as one of the best presidents that this country has ever had. I don't know if Bush will be ranked as one of the best presidents in the future after he leaves office, but I find today's circumstances and the circumstances of 1861-65 quite similar.

On another topic on an entirely different end of the world... The case of "the plastic woman." You know what I'm talking about. Despite all those well-produced Dove commercials glorifying the natural, "neighbor-next-door" type woman, plastic surgeries continue to go up. Dallas, Texas does more plastic surgeries in a year than anywhere in California or New York. And why? So you can look "beautiful?" In looking at people's results after plastic surgery, I find that they look exactly like Barbie dolls, not like people anymore. Please understand, I'm all for reconstructive surgery. Burn victims, breast cancer survivors, etc. all deserve to have a little more confidence put in their lives.

But what is all this craze about people who are perfectly fine without surgery who go ahead and have it? Why do they feel like they have to have it? Why has our society become materialistic to the point where dads give their daughters breast implants as a graduation present? Don't people know that they are setting themselves up for dissatisfaction for the rest of their lives? And it's not because they decide to have surgery to make themselves look like whatever popular model is on TV, it's because they cannot place their own confidence into themselves without "help."

My thinking is that when you are taught from a small child that you are a descendant of monkeys, why should anyone expect you to act like anything besides an monkey? Basically what it comes down to is that our society is so God-starved that we're willing to slash each other's throat for issues that are not important in the face of eternity. God is the Author of Death and Life; who else can claim to be the master of it? A child might be aborted, but his or her soul can never killed. That's a simple fact, and we as Christians should continue to work against abortion, but we also need to take comfort in that fact. God is the Ultimate Master of all politics, so why should anyone worry about who will be elected next year. He puts up rulers and He takes them down, so what's with all the campaigning? God created a person just the way he or she was made to look like, so why are we deliberately destroying ourselves to make us look beautiful, when we are in fact just making ourselves look plastic?

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