Most people who know me are aware that I maintain a stance of political neutrality. After the US presidential election in 2004, a curious ultrarunning friend inquired: “Are you apolitical as in not interested in the just-finished election?” Most will remember that the election was a controversial and emotion charged event.
My response: No, not “not interested.” Neutral. There is an important difference. Being neutral is not at all the same as being uninterested, apathetic, or uninformed.
I have been one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, actively studying and teaching other people the Bible, since 1971. The position of neutrality that we practice is carefully cultivated, and bears a strong resemblance to the attitude of an ambassador from a foreign government who is much interested in the goings-on of the nation to which he is sent, but must necessarily maintain a hands-off attitude toward direct involvement in order to avoid conflict of interest. Ambassadors tend to become embroiled up to their necks in things that have to do with politics. It takes great discipline for them to maintain detachment.
That detachment gives one an elevated sense of objective clarity regarding some of the issues that are hotly debated in this world, an ability to see both sides of an argument clearly, and often to perceive that there are other answers to the problems that the majority are blinded to by their own partiality.