Reforming our behavior is a process that begins with awareness. Let me offer something in the spirit of heightening our collective awareness.
Decades ago, the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith, Shoghi Effendi, wrote (via his secretary) that Baha’is should “shun politics like the plague”. He was speaking not of altruistic service for the common good, but of partisan politics.
The reason of course, is that partisanship foments disunity. Its very nature is “Us against Them”, pitching one side against another as adversaries in a struggle for control.
Yet, every four years in this country, many of us Baha’is lose sight of the Faith’s goal of unity, and of the Guardian’s stern admonition, and promulgate highly divisive partisan rhetoric. It used to be a problem only in conversations, but with the advent of social media, everyone becomes a “published author”.
And making matters worse, the political system in this country has degenerated to new lows where visceral attacks take precedence over the proffering of ideas.
As each new vindictive proclamation is posted on the internet and appears on computer screens (truly the light of the world?), we readers, perhaps mindlessly seeing it only as entertainment, dutifully re-post it on social media pages, and the virus spreads profusely – like the plague.
It is an easy trap.
It is so much harder to independently investigate the truth of something than to just autonomically share it with all our Facebook friends, or instantly “re-tweet” it to our “followers” (yes, we can all be deities now).
Compounding the issue is this point: “Even if it is true, does its re-broadcast by me, make me appear partisan and aligned with one particular group against all others?”
You bet it does.
“Politics” should be the science of bettering the life of a society. Now days, it has become the science of securing power by repeating falsehoods until they are believed. So the flip side of the partisanship question becomes: “Even if it’s true, will those aligned with the “other side” view me as a fool or worse, a liar?”
You bet they will.
Like the corpses of the Plague, one cannot handle political issues without picking up some germs and stench.
I think I’ll wash my hands.