Wheaton College Political Science professor Amy Black is a regular contributor to The Table, the online journal sponsored by Biola University’s Center for Christian Thought. In the latest issue, Black writes about “Antidotes to Voter Anger.” Self-styled “realists” will dismiss her suggestions as naïve, but we ought to find them convicting. Here are her concluding thoughts:
Given the current state of American politics, Christians have great opportunities to model a different style of political communication. When political debates grow intense and anger rises, we need not respond in kind. Instead, we can make every effort not to incite more anger. At times, this may require refusing to speak or respond at all, at least until tempers recede.
When we do choose to respond, we can critique issue positions, individual candidates, and even the system itself with a proper sense of humility. When debates are framed in terms of personal gains or losses, we can reorient the discussion toward broader questions of political justice, asking what biblical values are at stake and what paths are most likely to serve the common good.
We can offer a quieter, less emotionally-charged counterpoint, presenting our arguments with respect and care. We can also take time to learn about political controversies before commenting on them, checking details with multiple sources and considering a range of viewpoints. Most importantly, we should commit the election, our political system, and all those participating in it to prayer.
Voter dissatisfaction has been growing for decades, and the underlying problems that have led to such anger will not be easily solved. But we can chart a different path in how we respond, modeling humbler and more informed political communication.