What I Learned Having Political Discussions Overseas

I can vividly remember one election year while sitting in an Australian coffee shop with other missionaries an Aussie nearby called out to us.

“Hey are you American?”

When we said yes he asked “who are you going to vote for? McCain or Obama?”

He then proceeded to tell us who to vote for, and why

That was a bit of a shock to me, but today having a conversation about politics, or current events in the US is something I have gotten pretty good at! Today I’d like share some of the lessons I learned along the way.

Lesson One-Remember Political Beliefs are Public overseas##.

The hardest part for me was learning politics is not a private thing in Australia or Saint Vincent. In most cases it is a somewhat private subject in the States (though that is changing) so most people would ask about your political stance on controversial subjects. And DEFINITELY NOT ask you to defend them!

It is different overseas!!!

Political events in the States are something that you WILL DISCUSS since for some people you may be the only American they interact with. Politics being public in this way is a good thing because it makes you think about your stances, and be able to defend them.

Lesson Two-Remember America is not always right

A few weeks ago my prison ministry group got to talking about George Bush Jr. sending troops into Afghanistan over rumored “weapons of mass destruction.”

A friend was saying we should have never gone there in the first place because the info about those weapons were faulty. Part of me was tempted to defend the decision of President Bush, but I also knew she was right in saying it was the wrong decision.

So instead I made a more specific critique that the goal should have been to kill Saddam Hussein. After accomplishing that goal, it was foolish in my opinion to try to bring democracy into Afghanistan. This was a good idea obviously, but it was almost impossible to complete.

It is painful to swallow our pride and say “yes we messed up” but it strengthens your testimony.

Lesson Three-Have a Balanced View of Politics

Everyone here watches Fox News, and CNN religiously (at least everyone who has cable). Obviously both of these news outlets are TOTALLY BIASED one either side of the spectrum!

This is why as an American Christian overseas, I must have well thought out political views.

for instance I am a Republican who agrees with almost every single decision that Donald Trump made as President. Yet at the same time I will openly tell people I have a serious is problem with him because of his attitude. The way former president Trump treated people, and talked about issues in the most controversial way possible bothers me.

In a sense this means being a student of news and culture instead of just being fed by the conservative or liberal media.

The amazing thing is here in St. Vincent you will see people rattling off the talking pints from the latest news show in the US. Of course there’s nothing wrong with the news, but if they must think through it for themselves or do their own research.

I am thankful for the many political discussions overseas because they have helped me become a man who can state his position, defend it clearly, and admit when mistakes were made.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: