Inciting Political Interest

“You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out”—Steve Jobs

Getting someone to take an interest in Indian politics is a bit like asking someone to get married after a bad breakup. They don’t want to believe in love because they don’t want to get hurt again. They don’t want to vote because they don’t think it will change anything.

I’ve never been too interested in politics because it always felt like being forced to choose between the lesser of two evils. But I kept going back to vote, even though it felt like being compelled to buy something expensive just because it was on sale.

More than the fact that the AAP has swept the elections in Delhi is that they actually made politics interesting and people hopeful about the future.

On Saturday 89 lakh voters chose a new government for themselves.

It’s taken a campaign built on the promise of change to sweep away a party that built its own winning campaign on the promise of change. It’s taken the promise of a new kind of politics to turn interest away from the old kind of politics. It’s taken one charismatic person’s leadership to turn voters away from another charismatic person’s leadership.

Politics has united the city of Delhi in a seemingly unprecedented way. The last time I saw Delhi celebrating so much was when India won the World Cup.

Suddenly politics has become interesting because it resembles the unpredictable rivalries, sweeping victories and hopeful endings that are usually found in football, cricket and love triangles in romantic comedies.

Arvind Kejriwal has even been named Delhi’s new Valentine. He will take his oath as Delhi Chief Minister on February 14th, the day the World Cup begins.

But any new love or leadership comes with the promise of hope, the risk of vulnerability and the responsibility to work.

Anyone who reads the Bible closely knows the weight that God gives to leadership, the responsibility He gives to leaders, the anger He feels at injustice, the warning He gives to the corrupt, the charges He brings against rulers driven by self-interest and the premium He places on the poor and the marginalized.

Any government that wants to do right by Him will have to be caretakers of these concerns—not merely for His sake or their own but for the sake of a just society, the very thing for which we are hopeful again.

Delhi has shown that it’s willing to believe that the promise of better politics will take us closer to the dream of a just society.

Like an unfaithful lover pleading for a second chance, a new kind of politics has convinced us to give it another shot. Five years later, I hope that we’re still in love.

Image Credit: Theresa Thompson

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