Make American Politics Hopeful Again

How the call to “carry one another’s burdens” breaks down partisan stalemates.

In our increasingly polarized nation, elections are not just perceived to determine the direction of our nation’s policies but as a declaration of who is included and who is excluded. We cannot have a nation where half of the country wakes up the morning after an election feeling like they no longer have a place in their own country without severely fraying our social fabric.

At a time when politicians and party activists increasingly argue that their obligation is only, or primarily, to a subset of the American people—defined by race, socioeconomic status, religion, ideology, or some other category—the American people themselves must take extraordinary steps to force political actors to consider problems, concerns, and ideas that they would typically ignore.

A new year calls for a new kind of politics, and there is one radical idea as old as Scripture that might provide a way forward.

When the apostle Paul was writing to the Galatians, he was addressing a community that was in deep disunity. Paul had helped form the Galatians through his teachings, but they were straying from their foundational commitments. Sin, false teachers, and parochial motives and interests were creating, well, polarization. Paul’s letter to the Galatians, then, represents an attempt to speak clarity into the conflict, and help the community reform around its foundations.

Into this polarized environment, Paul instructs them to do something radical, something completely contrary to everything polarization promotes: They ought to “carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2, CSB).

Paul’s command shows no favoritism. His call is not to one group only, to those with …

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