One foolproof way to stay neutral with regard to politics is to know nothing about it. Many Witnesses choose that route. How can they be criticized for it? Many non-Witnesses take that route too for the sake of their blood pressure and stomach. 100 pounds of personal exertion may budge the scale a half-ounce? Some will choose to conserve their 100 pounds of personal exertion. It’s the Serenity Prayer realized for them: “Grant to us the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed; courage to change that which can be changed, and wisdom to know the one from the other.” If you think that the overall state of affairs cannot be changed, yet you exert all your effort to do so, there goes your serenity.
Some people are greatly interested in sports. Some people care not a whit. Some people are greatly interested in cars. Others wouldn’t know a Astin Martin from a Yugo—they would not know that the grates on the back of a Yugo are heating grates to warm your hands as you are pushing it (said Click and Clack). Some are interested in the human interaction that is politics. Some are not. Not a problem, any of it. It’s all personal choice.
The thing that nettles is when people misrepresent their non-interest as piety. Like the firebrand bro who insisted Jehovah’s Witnesses ARE NOT interested in politics, and when I responded that some of them were, he blocked me.
It’s okay to know things. It doesn’t in itself make you ‘part of this world.’ It even aids in the ministry to understand what it is that so gets people cranked up. That way you don’t have to speak in bland generalities. However, to present interest in politics as for the sake of the ministry also rings false. If you follow it, you follow it. Don’t try to present it as a virtue for the sake of the ministry.
Pop didn’t care for politics. All these years I had imagined he did, since at family gatherings, long before my Witness days, politics was a frequent topic of discussion. Turned out that my mom’s dad, a staunch conservative, would rattle on endlessly about it, and Dad was just too circumspect and amiable to tell his father-in-law to zip it.
****** The bookstore