Thursday, August 14, 2008

Election Speak

The Election of 2008 is critical.
It is not simply a decision of electing a political party to sit in power; it is a matter of re-deciding our future together.

Listen carefully to the pre-election speak. Listen for how the political parties/policies/politicians promise to re-describe and re-imagine our future. Listen for stories of the “end”; stories of what our future is going to look like if the political promises get kept: what is the promised “end” of “Economic Growth”?; what is the promised “end” of “Personal Tax Cuts”?; what is the promised “end” of “Welfare Benefits”?; what is the promised “end” of “Law and Order”?; what is the promised “end” of “Sustainable Development”? Listen for whether these promises “end” in a future of consumerism or citizenship. It is a critical difference of possible realities.

Walter Brueggemann explains the difference:

“ - Consumers are those who, after they ‘eat and are satiated’,... ‘exalt self, forget, grow fat, serve other gods’, a collage of self-sufficiency, self-indulgence, self-congratulation, self-reference - autonomous and automatic - an ocean of self, characteristically growing fat.”

“ - Citizens are those who, after they ‘eat and are satiated’,... ‘bless and remember’, that is they turn life and satiation back to the Giver in order to acknowledge the gift, the return of given life to the giver of life, to situate self in the world of gift and demand well beyond self. in that transaction of return, the self has a role to play but never autonomous, never automatic, never guaranteed, never taken for granted, always engaged with the reference beyond self who commands, creates and guarantees.”
(Walter Brueggemann, 2006, The Word that Re-describes the World).

A future of consumerism or citizenship? It is the great either/or that has dominated the political history of planet earth. Every politician, from Moses and Pharaoh to Julius Caesar and King Herod from Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler to J.F.K and Fidel Castro from John Major and Margaret Thatcher to Helen Clarke and John Key, have had to engage politically with these options of what it means to be human. The Election of 2008 is now our opportunity to say how we choose to re-narrate our future together.

No comments:

Post a Comment