“If you are neutral in times of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
These words, spoken by South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have become more of a political ideology to me than any notion of “Republican” or “Democrat.”
They represent a clear and direct clarification of the purpose of electing officials and enacting policy — to ensure injustice is eradicated in our society.
This may sound like the biggest piece of liberal propaganda you have heard this week. However, this is where our boundaries of political identification fall short.
The left does not have a monopoly on protecting those who are most vulnerable, and the right is not out to construct more obstacles for those who are already facing plenty.
As we are faced with humanitarian crises over and over again, inundated with heartbreaking photographs of suffering innocents and reminded of the tragedies within our own borders, political bickering begins to seem almost self-serving.
One begins to grow weary of the cheap talk that does nothing more than stir up dissension and fear.
Thus, instead of hearkening to our clearly defined and enclosed political platforms, we should instead let servants’ hearts guide our decisions. Our actions should ignore brands and trademarks in order to assist those in need all around us.
However, this becomes difficult when the mechanisms to help others are boring, complex policy proposals shrouded in partisan rancor. Many on the left automatically dismiss innovative legislative ideas because they come from across the aisle.
Take the matter of school choice, for instance. One would assume liberals would support it, as it levels the playing field for underprivileged children and allows them access to a quality education, regardless of their zip codes. Yet, it was stamped with a big, red “REPUBLICAN” and subsequently written off.
The right attaches this subtle hypocrisy as well. Republicans claim to work to create opportunities for those who want to work hard and rise in our country. However, they have taken the lead in rejecting refugees from several Muslim-majority countries lately.
It appears that a government constructed by the people and for the people has lost its humanity. Perhaps we all should remember what the purpose of a nation is to begin with — to serve those within its borders most effectively.
When principles and party become more life-like than the people themselves, it is important to consider whether life is worth sacrificing paltry labels.
Julia Grant is a freshman public policy leadership and journalism major from Gulfport.