Saturday, September 6, 2008
The Obama Question
My biggest facination this political season has been listening to people (and particularly Christians) talk on why they will, or will not, be voting for Barak Obama.
Sometimes they mention his strong points, such as his ability to cast an articulate vision and his charasmatic persona, but often their first response is because of "George Bush", "the war", or "the Republicans". I'll be honest, I get nervous when we start electing presidents based, not on record and accomplishment, but as a reaction to something else.
One of my first political memories was of another time when the country was just extracting itself from an unpopular war and scandal was rife in the White House. It was during this time that a young governor from Georgia named Jimmy Carter burst on the scene. He was charming, sincere, and seemed to posess so many of the qualities the embattled Richard Nixon lacked. He was embraced by the Christian community by being the first president to publicaly proclaim of being "born again" and he rode a ground swell backlash all the way to the White House.
The problem?: He wasn't a particularly good president. His foreign policy left us neutered, his domestic policy left us broke, and his liberal social policies alienated the very Christians that once embraced him. My father, a life long labor Democrat to that point, voted for Carter the first time, and never voted Democrat again.
Let me just say, "I like Barak Obama" I think he is a genuine, sincere man who truly wants whats best for this country. (and I will say the same for John McCain). Its just that to much of this ground swell of popularism relys on him "not being George Bush" and thats not good enough for me.
Many Christians I know also worry me because their support for Obama seems to be a declaration of their independence from the Republican party rather than a conviction to vote Democrat. They remind me of the girl who jumps on the back of the bad boy's motorcycle, not because she's in love with the boy, but because she wants to show her parents she's her own person. Living in Boulder I met many people who were Buddhist. When I would talk with them, I realized (many times) their Buddhism stemmed not from an internal conviction of having reached some truth, but as a tool of self-expression, often to convey that they were NOT Christians.
I agree that the Christian community needs to disentangle itself from its complete devotion to the Republican Party, But voting for Obama seems (often) to be an expression about what you are against, rather than what you are for...and that makes me worry for this country.