Politics Is A Religion: Why Politics Is More Polarizing

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In the last 12 years, I considered myself a political junkie. Ever since the 2008 global financial crisis, I followed politics more closely to understand the bigger issues. As much as I understand how the political system functions, I’ve lost a lot of interest in reforming the system. One reason is I always thought that politics is a religion to an extent. There’s too much trust not only in the system but in politicians to do what’s best for the common good.

Of course, politicians will probably never do what’s best for their constituents. Even though I thought that was the case, now I don’t. When candidates run for office, they’ll do the best they can to rally their base. But once elected and they’re into office, they do the exact opposite of what they promised. Therefore, they end up disappointing their supporters.

Politics is a religion: Is religion political or social?

I won’t discuss religion extensively, but it’s good to mention whether it’s political or social. Religion is a big part of the conservative base (particularly for social conservatives, or evangelical Christians). Unfortunately, religion has become part of the conversation in politics over the years.

What I don’t like about religion and politics is people will impose their beliefs on others. All sides will do it, but especially social conservatives will say their beliefs are the most accurate and trustworthy of them all.

For me personally, I don’t want anyone telling me that their religion is the best one to follow. I’d rather make my own judgment when it comes to that thinking. Moreover, religion has become politicized to the point it causes controversy. It’s why politics has become more polarizing today than ever before.

Politics and religion: A devout following?

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In this article, I’m going to go over some reasons why politics feels more like a religion. Also, I’ll mention what you can do instead of being part of the problem today. Instead of following it closely, work on improving yourself as an individual.

Politics is a religion

Issues being more politicized

Throughout the years, some small issues have been brought to national attention. Problems that are better equipped at the local level have been turned over to the federal government. When issues can’t be solved at the local level, people will look to the government for help. In that case, they’re putting more trust in inefficient bureaucracy rather than themselves or their fellow neighbors. 

Major issues, such as education and health care, have always been front and center at a national level. Although education and health care matters to a lot of people, both issues have deteriorated. One reason is both have been politicized where many people think it’s the government’s responsibility to handle these problems. But it ended up turning out worse than say 60 years ago.

Even something such as police reform has been debated at the national level. Should the feds nationalize the police force? Would violent crime dramatically decrease? Maybe or maybe not, but it likely wouldn’t be better if there was a national police force.

Social issues are another area where it’s best handled locally. To the point where issues such as same-sex marriage or abortion are handed over to politicians or judges, there’s a loss of trust between people living in the same community. It’s unfortunate where people don’t want to work with others in their community (i.e. neighbors, school, church), or simply move somewhere else. When issues become politicized, it brings opportunities for those in government to seize power and control over society.

Devote following of leaders

Politics can be thought of as a religion based on people following and obeying their leaders. In the religious sense, people will believe in a god (or multiple of them) and worship them in one way or the other. When it comes to political leaders, people can be staunch followers who believe in every word that comes out of a politician’s mouth.

No matter what a politician says (or how appealing they are), their followers will get behind and support them. As long as they’re part of the same party or have the same beliefs, people will fall behind their leaders regardless of.

Let’s take some recent examples in the last two decades:

George W. Bush “God Told Me To Invade Iraq

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Bush got praise and worship in the way he responded to the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. Many of his supporters got behind him and saw him as a god-like figure. At one time, he reportedly said that he was on a mission from God to end the tyranny in Iraq (referring to the 2003 Iraq invasion by the US government).

Barack Obama “Hope and Change”

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In his first presidential campaign, Obama was viewed as the “hope and change” candidate. He vowed to end the wars overseas while softening the divisions going on domestically. Although he didn’t end up doing those things, his supporters still loved him no matter what. In spite of all the bad things he did as president, his supporters still backed him because he was their leader. 

Donald Trump “Make America Great Again”

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More recently, Trump has been somewhat of an interesting individual. When he first ran for president to the present day, he had much support in the conservative base. Even the multiple rallies he’s done, he tends to get moderate-large crowds attending them. 

Similar to his two predecessors before him, he was seen as the antiwar candidate. Also, being viewed as a full-blown, anti-establishment candidate. Even though he hasn’t kept up some of those promises, his supporters still back him no matter what. As long as he keeps bragging about how great he is, he still will get praise and worship in his camp.

Similar to his two predecessors before him, he was seen as the antiwar candidate. Also, being viewed as a full-blown, anti-establishment candidate. Even though he hasn’t kept up some of those promises, his supporters still back him no matter what. As long as he keeps bragging about how great he is, he still will get praise and worship in his camp.

Another thing to mention is the opposition against Obama and Trump. When Obama was in office, some critics said he would start another world war and blow up the world. Trump’s opposition, to a degree, say similar things when they think of Trump being cruel. The point to get across is both these men have fierce opposition, but sounds like it’s overblown. Both Obama and Trump have done bad things while in office, but nothing compared to what Adolf Hitler did during the Holocaust.

Not just a religion, but a sport

You know, politics is a team sport, folks, and sometimes you’ve got to rally together and do something…”

-Rick Santorum, Former Senator from Pennsylvania while in a 2012 Republican primary debate (February 2012)

Not only can politics be a religion, but it can feel like playing sports. The sports analogy is easy to compare because there are two major political parties in the US. For the most part, you’re either on team democrat or team republican. If you want to get things done in Washington DC, you have to be a good team player.

Rick Santorum, someone I don’t admire at all, said it best several years ago in a presidential debate. In regards to voting on No Child Left Behind as a senator, he said:

“I have to admit, I voted for that. It was against the principles I believed in, but you know when you’re part of the team sometimes you take one for the team, for the leader, and I made a mistake. You know, politics is a team sport, folks, and sometimes you’ve got to rally together and do something…” 

Although that didn’t help in his favor to be president, it’s kind of an inconvenient truth. 

When it comes to political parties, the goal is to not lookout for the people. They’ll never do the right thing when it’s not convenient for them. Instead, they do what’s best for their party and their own self-interests. Or in this case, to team up and fight against the other side.

Left & right comparison to Christianity vs. Jewish

There’s a distinct comparison between left vs. right and Christians vs. Jews. Similar to what can be a divide between the left and right, there are disagreements when it comes to different religions. Unfortunately, the fights keep going on between what’s moral or not. It likely will continue to be that way for many years to come. If there are no alliances here, it feels even more like a strict divided line on the best ways to solve societal problems.

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Emphasizing the wrong points

When it comes to division in politics, people often look to the wrong reasons for problems to occur. If that’s the case, it’ll cause even more division and confusion on the major issues.

Take, for example, the endless foreign interventions in the Middle East. The US government has been involved in that region for the last few decades. People would argue it has to do with Islam or Muslims being anti-American. When in fact, it has to deal with the US occupying those countries for a long period of time. 

Invasion in those countries contributes more to the chaos and violence rather than religious beliefs. The longer the US stays and occupies, the potential for more backlash and violence to occur later on.

Another example would be the problems on Wall Street. People think that Wall Street is corrupt and makes bad decisions. They’re right on those points, but thanks to the government getting in bed with Wall Street. It’s not only Wall Street’s problem, but the government helps Wall Street do much better than the rest of the economy. 

So there’s a correlated issue with government intervention that makes people divided and frustrated. More so, some people will look to those in government as the solutions to these types of problems. When they focus on the wrong points to blame others, it creates more conflict and confusion down the road.

Wrap-Up

Following politics can be similar to following a religion closely. From what was discussed earlier, a lot of problems can come up if people place trust in their leaders and the system overall. The reason being is that their leaders won’t deliver on their promises. That is, to make things better for them and their country.

I’ve nearly lost trust in the system within the past year. I realize that politicians won’t always do what they promise. I knew that for a long time, but more so than ever. They never lookout in the best interest of the public; instead, they look out for themselves.

For those who still believe the system works, they’ll be disappointed when their leaders don’t end up doing the right thing. Until more people understand that’s the case, there will be no real change anytime soon.

However, if you happen to be on the same page as me, you can change your situation. You can choose to not follow a group or leader to change the direction of a country. For the most part, I’ve chosen to not go down that route. I know it’s my duty to focus on myself to improve the quality of my life.

Rather, choose to change the direction of your destiny. Work on improving yourself as an individual, and your potential to provide value to the world. Don’t rely on others to change your life- that’s your responsibility. It’s Only YOU who has the power to change direction for the better.

I would like to hear your thoughts. Do you think politics acts like a religion? Do you agree with the notion of people following their leaders passionately? Are you fed up with the division that’s taken place recently?

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