Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Politics and Religion

The two tabu subjects, everywhere except in the blogging world. Here, politics reigns at the moment. Religion - not so much. But to me, the two are so closely related that I am going to defy the tabu today.

I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I have voted both ways from time to time. I am an Independent, and it means a great deal to me that I remain so. I worked for 18 years for the local municipality. The day I started that job, I also went to the Election Board and registered Independent. I have never regretted it.

I am really sick of hearing the Republicans claiming to uphold the "Christian ethic" and be the family oriented people, while pointing at Democratic liberals as being godless heathens. That is so far from the truth (on both sides) as to be ludicrous. There is a man in the White House today who calls himself a Christian, but whose actions regarding the health and welfare of the people, relations with other countries, refusal to sign international agreements to protect the innocent, treatment of prisoners, and on and on, to my personal understanding of the word "Christian", defy every Christian ideal. He may be able to rationalize the things he has done, but I have never heard any adequate explanation. And yet, thousands of staunch Republicans watch his actions, and say, "That's OK. We're behind him."

I would love to understand this. I would love to believe that he and all who agree with him are sincere in their belief that he is right in what he has done. I simply cannot wrap my mind around it. He has ignored the Constitution and appointed himself Supreme Ruler, and his followers have applauded him. The people of the United States have said they don't care if they lose their freedom - He's a good, Christian man and anything he wants to do is OK.


Perhaps Mr. Bush is as good a Christian as he considers himself. Perhaps all of his supporters are too. I really am not the one to judge that. God knows I am very far from perfect myself. I just don't understand!

Throughout this campaign there has been a series of nasty slurs against the Democratic candidate. One thing in particular that was repeated, and was considered a slur, was that he was really a Muslim. Excuse me. Aside from the FACT that he is a Christian, may I ask, what's wrong with being a Muslim? or a Hindu, or a Jew, or any other faith? Do Republicans also believe that only they will be chosen to enter Heaven? - Just asking.

I don't care what religion is that of our President. I would like to know that he or she has one. No. Let me rephrase that. I would like to know that he or she believes in a higher power, and therefore understands that their actions make them accountable. And I, too, am held accountable. It is my responsibility to do my best to see that the right person gets to the White House. I cannot close my eyes and pretend that all is right with the world. No candidate I have ever seen run for any office has been "the perfect one for the job". Every politician I have ever seen, from any party, has first been a human being, and therefore imperfect. I have had to make really hard choices at times. And every damned one of them has told us lies, in the attempt to persuade us to vote their way. I have felt it was my job to first, look at their record; next, sift through the lies and the half-truths and decide whose are the worst; and last, and perhaps the most important, who has fallen lowest in trying to degrade their opponent. Well, no. Their record is really most important. And when I say "their record" I'm talking about consistency, and what they have attempted to do, whether or not they succeeded. It makes no difference to me that John McCain was once a prisoner of war. I respect him for his service to his country, but hundreds of men and women have been prisoners of war. They are not all automatically qualified to lead a country. It makes no difference to me that Barack Obama has family ties from long ago, in other countries. Who is he personally? And most of all - and yes, it is an important factor here and now in our country - I don't care what color his skin may be. It is the saddest thing I can imagine, that today in the United States of America, of all places in this world, skin color is such an important consideration to so many people. People who call themselves "Christian", at that.

In 2008, in the United States of America, the importance of the election that will be held will reach far beyond our country's boundaries. The whole world will be watching this one, and holding its breath. How many of us, heading for the voting booth, will consider Them out there? They will react to what we do. As important as the issues we are facing here today, as important as the results of the election will be to us, we must realize that those results will also have an effect on Them and their lives. The world has grown so much smaller in recent years. Their lives also impact ours. And all of those who call themselves Christians have a sacred obligation to pay attention to Them and their needs. Selfishly, we also benefit when we care for them. If Mr. McCain continues the policies put in place by Mr. Bush, and he will, people all over the world will suffer, and ultimately, so will we.


Anonymous said...

Great essay, Bobbie! There seems to be a deep human need to partition ourselves off into various groups, parties, sects etc. and then get all smug and superior over everybody else: I'm right you're wrong, I'm saved you're not, I'm better, you're a (insert slur of choice). As for politics, I've noticed one interesting thing this go-round... the news broadcasts have "fact checkers." After every speech they come in and cut away the exaggeratons, half-truths, outright lies, etcetc. Now, isn't that odd? Why should that even be necessary? Of course politicians have always blustered, but now we need a battery of fact-checkers to interpret the spin and the BS, it's gotten that bad?!? It's at the point that I wonder why people even bother listening to the candidates, just go to the independent fact-checkers for the real story.

P.S. Thanks for the mention and link in your previous post.

kenju said...

AMEN! Bobbie, you said it so well!

Sylvia K said...

I couldn't agree more with you and with Deborah! I've been trying to hold back these past few days, trying not to put out all the things that I have been feeling. I didn't even want to think about what I was feeling, but I'm not going to be able to keep it inside much long. I'm an independent, too. And I do try to see both sides, but I'm not sure I even know who Americans are any more. And, yes, the whole world is watching, hoping -- and I just hope that we don't finish writing this country off by voting in the idiots that have done so much damage to our country. It surely won't say much for us as a people.
Great post, Bobbie!

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, Bobbie. As a Christian, I think there should be a complete division between church and state. Over here, we have bishops sat in the House of Lords. Why? Beats me. A politician's faith should be his or her affair but they shouldn't bring it into the public domain whilst they are in office. Of then, those who crow loudest about how Christian they are act as if they know little about the teachings of Christ. I expext this goes for other religions too. We had our own 'holy Joe' in Tony Blair. How he sleeps at night I don't know. The fact that he probably does sleep at night says a lot about the depth of his faith.

I'm utterly disenchanted with politicians and am considering not voting at all in any future General Election here. Why vote when NONE of the parties stand for anything beyond love of power for power's sake? I used to be an active member of the Labour Party but since they gave up on socialism I've given up on them. All the other parties in Britain are either in thrall to Capitalism or a waste of space...or both!

Minnesotablue said...

A well written and thoughtful post. I feel that this election is the most important one of my lifetime. I pray that voters will look at the last eight years and know that we need to turn our great country around!

Bear Naked said...

Bravo Bobbie.
From your northern neighbour.

Bear((( )))

Clara....in TN said...

You said it so well!!!!