My spouse is a fan of “Dancing With the Stars” at least on a semi-regular basis. Each new season, about 12 guests of varying ability are paired up with dance professionals with the hope that, during a number of weeks, judges and members of the large TV audience will be able to select a winner.
Few couples shine at the beginning of the season, but by the end, several of the guests look almost professional themselves. It’s clear that to stay in the contest a tremendous amount of work and working together has to happen for the couple to progress.
For a moment, I invite you to imagine yourself as a dance contestant. Your task is to take hold of a partner and begin to move in rhythm to the music, modeling the necessary movement needed to both complete the dance and engage the support of others.
You and your partner have different perceptions of the music, but for the sake of the task at hand, you embrace and awkwardly but intently begin to move about the floor.
Suddenly, a bawling child rushes out on to floor, grabs hold of your legs and refuses to let go, no matter what you do or what you offer as incentive to cease and desist.
The child’s behavior threatens to bring the dance celebration to a screeching halt. Nothing less than a shutdown of the party will quiet the child’s all-consuming antics.
Welcome to modern American politics at its worst.
We’ve just witnessed the culmination of political leadership thrown under the bus by a disruptive and temperamental, childish cohort of leaders who have been intent to stop the dance of governing simply to get their way, the consequences of which will have lasting social and economic disruption. They wanted an invitation to the party but have consistently refused to dance, and they’ve refused to let other leaders dance together as well.
Much as a dance involves shared leadership, knowledge of steps to be undertaken with a willingness to pay attention to the rhythm of give-and-take, so, too, those who are elected to govern need a willingness to move toward harmony in order to complete the political dance that brings about the common good of all and not the halting self-interest of the few.
The spectacle we’ve just witnessed has served the good of no one and has carelessly wreaked havoc on those most vulnerable. It must cause just hearts, and God’s own heart, to mourn.
If the Bible verse Ecclesiastes 3:4 is true, that there is a time for mourning, certainly we must long for it to be over and now start anew to work toward a time for dancing together in a God-given, God-blessed dance of new life. All together for the health of our nation and the care of our neighbor.
One day, our political life together in community will resemble more of a dance than a fistfight, more ballet-like than brawl. It must change, or our democracy will one day fail.Matters of Faith columnist Kim Latterell can be reached by email at email@example.com.