- (Photo: jarsofclay.com)
Jars of Clay frontman Dan Haseltine is baffled by how neighbors can quickly turn into enemies during election season.
"How does it happen, that we should be in such unfulfilling work as that of perceiving neighbors as enemies?" he wrote on his website. The Christian artist expressed his thoughts right before Election Day, wondering how people can so easily draw dividing lines over political opinions.
"It is inescapable, this feeling that we have become okay with the venomous air surrounding election time. We see the campaign sign and immediately draw the most extreme negative caricature of beliefs that would provoke such a poor choice of political support."
Election Day has passed and the results are that President Barack Obama has been re-elected. Bitter partisanship defined the past four years in Washington and also among citizens standing on opposite sides of issues such as gay marriage and health care.
Haseltine, who founded the charity Blood:Water Mission, says love is the answer to ending the bitter divisions.
"There is an art to civilized engagement about politics. It is the kind of art that is born out of severe disciplined love. Only love can remove the defensive posture of apposing opinions. Only love can settle a person in their own skin deeply enough to allow them to lift their heels and be teachable all the while standing in the trenches of a significant political discussion," he wrote.
Once the emotions and arguments that came with the election pass, Haseltine hopes people will find commonalities and see what really matters.
"In another few months, after the political stickers have begun to peel and fold from the winter weather, and the signs have all been plucked back out of the hard earth, and a leader is cozily reading in the Oval office, we will see past the amplified filter of the two party system, and notice that there are some endearing commonalities about our neighbor-enemies," he wrote.
"We will find that life is more than votes or legislature, and we will have the perspective that currently eludes us. We are all in the same garden, meant to grow together, flowers and weeds alike. We are all watered by the same storms and brightened by the same sun. We are not so different in the things that truly matter. And even if we are different, we are still called to love well.
"I look forward to recognizing the community of people I have been coerced into thinking represent something alien or dangerous or toxic, and enjoying a laugh, or a story or a meal with them."
Jars of Clay, a Grammy award-winning Christian rock band, is working on a new record, set for release in 2013.