In the 2014 September election I voted for the Green Party of New Zealand. It wasn't a deeply thought out decision, I was swayed by the rhetoric that was thrown around. At the core I am deeply committed to making the word a better place to live. I am not a socialist (at least, not at this stage) and I am not an environmentalist (however, am deeply committed to improvement of the horrific way in which we have historically and currently treat our planet), but I am on the journey of self-discovery.
Yesterday I was sitting at dinner with a beautifully bold man I had just met in Christchurch. We were chatting about politics—the usual rhetoric about John Key, some thoughts about Auckland house prices, the criminality of having no capital gains tax... the usual dinnertime conversation.
Then he asked me who I voted for. I gave my reasons, which seemed woefully inadequate when attempting to articulate on the spot, and felt a bit awkward. The conversation went on, and a few of us shared quite honestly about who we voted for. We all listened and interacted with the other political positions in a respectful but honest way. No judgment, but honest robust interaction.
At the end of the conversation I thanked him for asking so bluntly; I was impressed that he had asked because in contexts like that I have seldom been asked directly where I had put my final vote.
Don't talk about it!
We are told from a young age that you don't talk about sex, religion or politics around the dinner table because this leads to too much conflict. What we are really saying is that people are not mature enough to talk about these issues.
We have seen this in the American Presidential race—rhetoric on top of rhetoric between immature people so deeply entrenched in their ways of thinking that there is no hope of any kind of conversation. But I think in New Zealand we are a bit further down on the journey, a bit more mature, a bit less divided.
I was encouraged to talk more openly about where I am up to in politics. This beautifully bold man ran swingers nights: a time to get the undecided voters in neighbourhood together, to facilitate a conversation, to discuss the policies, and give people the space to have this mature conversation. If one was too decided and there was no hope of changing one's mind then they were not invited.
I love this idea.
New Zealand is over a year away from the election. Over this year I will openly and honestly take you on my journey.
My political musings
I will read both sides of the argument, honestly critique, but be very open to changing my mind. I will explore theologically and biblically what the responsibility of those who follow Christ is. And, closer to the election, I will update you to who I will be voting for.
So I would like to invite you to join me throughout this journey; I will attempt to interact with everyone who is looking for honest and mature conversation. (Follow me on Facebook—I'd love to interact).
Until next time a generic political quote that I quite like:
"There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right."
- Martin Luther King Jr
Tim Shallard a co-director of Mosaic; founder of MorningCider; an inexperienced chef; coffee snob; amature philosopher; part-time poet; and neighbourhood lover. He is passionate about food, coffee, people, and believes that in Jesus there is hope of peace. Follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tim.shallard1
Tim Shallard's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/tim-shallard.html