I suspect I'm not the first and certainly won't be the last to express their thoughts in reaction to last night's debate and the upcoming election. I'm just ready to get a few things out there about what I'm seeing, observing, and my shallow perspective on this whole political thing.
Am I the only one to notice that anytime the White House is up for grabs, people just get weird? Like, if a president is up for re-election, then it's very much a "mild salsa" feel. But when you have a wide-open race, something a little more heated comes to the surface. It's as though there's this stored up angst that spills out through conversations, judgements, and opinions.
The other day after our Children's Worship ("ROCK"), I was approached by a member at our church I've known a long time. He was very kind as he asked me why I was an Obama supporter. I was kind of surprised at where he'd heard that, and also that it was a forgone conclusion that I was in his corner outright. He told me that someone had mentioned to him it was on my Facebook. So I went and looked at my Facebook page last night.
Under my visual bookshelf, The Audacity of Hope is listed as a book I'm currently reading. I received that book as a gift from my wife for Christmas, and it's just been taking me forever to read it...the 2-3 chapters are excellent, but you and I both know how eloquent and wordy Barack is, and so it's not an easy read. I would like to just suggest that although I read the book of someone I find fascinating doesn't make me their die-hard supporter. I cannot stand Bill Maher, and I don't want to give him a dime of my $$, but something in my spirit is curious to see his negative, cynical perspective on church and faith in his new documentary Religious.
What I can respect is being secure enough in your convictions to not mess with things like Obama's books, Maher's movies and the like. But what goes with that is also the respect for those who desire to see the world in all its reality, gaining perspective from differing worldviews. This is why I even bother to listen to debates and engage in conversations with folks about politics, much to my own demise!
Speaking of conversations...when I've discussed this election with many of my friends and family members who are by-n-large Republicans, I've been rather surprised at their lack of enthusiasm for their candidate. In fact, not really any of those conversations have sought to promote McCain, Palin, and everything they're about. Rather what I consistently hear is how Obama is evil, how they're afraid of him. I guess the timeless strategy of if you're mediocre on your party's guy, bash the other guy until your guy looks a little better. This is just silly. It's not very compelling to choose the lesser of 2 evils.
I will make no excuses for Obama's position on abortion, and the many ramifications of those choices. I'm a fan of life all the way around. I also understand that traditionally the President isn't looked upon to be the standard of all things moral and good...as Christians we may want that, but let's be honest, it's probably not going to happen. I'm not exercising cynicism, but rather just reminding myself that my hope rests in Jesus, and all that he stands for as a leader. Maybe I need to read Claiborne's new book, Jesus for President to better formulate what I mean.
I'm impressed with McCain's perseverance and courage. He's not afraid to be unpopular, while Obama seems to ride the waves of pop culture to have conversations about his positions. Yet every time Obama's morality is questioned, I cannot help but reflect on the fact that no one talks about McCain's flawed past...his failed marriage and affair are not exactly the stuff of wholesome conservative values. So, it seems to me there is disappointment for both men on both sides. What to do?
I know our hope rests in Jesus, and I believe that no matter who is the President of the U.S. for the next 4 years, in no way should that discourage my faith in God and His power. I personally commit to pray for whoever leads our nation next, and I guess the follow-up prayer to that would be that people would just support the U.S., no questions asked. Wouldn't that be the true testimony of patriotism...to get behind America, no matter who's at the helm, rather than pout, take our ball and go home when we don't get our way, when our candidate or party isn't victorious?
As I told one family member recently, I may just be allergic to politics. May we all come to a place where we vote with our heads and our hearts. May we ultimately trust that the God of the Universe is bigger than this election, and may we follow the footsteps of our one true leader, Christ Jesus...He's the only one worth all of our energies anyway.