Friday, October 24, 2008

Loving My Neighbor

More thoughts on politics but with a twist at the end:

-- You can say what you want about “Joe the Plumber” and Obama’s statement about “spreading the wealth around.” Whether Joe is legitimate or not is not the question. Obama’s response is indicative of the fundamental difference of opinion he and I have about the role of government. He wants to punish you if you make too much money. He wants to give tax “refunds” to people who never paid taxes in the first place. I just don’t think that makes sense.

-- I thought Sarah Palin knocked it out of the park on Saturday Night Live last weekend. To be able to laugh at yourself, to be able to “keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you,” to be able to, when “being lied about, (not) deal in lies” (with thanks to Rudyard Kipling) – these are attributes worthy of a Vice President. I also caught a little bit of her address this morning to parents of children with special needs. All I can say is I love this lady. As I have stated previously, I do not think the McCain-Palin ticket will prevail. The circumstances, history and media fawning are simply not in their favor although, if ever there has been a time when I hope I am wrong, this is it. But we have all been enriched by getting to know Sarah Palin. She has done her country, state, family and gender proud. I predict we will see her again. I look forward to it.

-- Barack Obama is taking a couple of days off to go be with his grandmother in Hawaii who is gravely ill and may not even make it through Election Day. As I have said before, although I do not agree with his politics, I like Barack Obama and think he is a kind, decent person. His grandmother had a big role in his upbringing and he is not about to let his running for the nation’s highest office interfere with his being with her in what might be her final days. I like that.

-- I am accused of having a Pollyanna-ish view, but I believe John McCain, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama and Joe Biden are all good, decent people who have the best interest of this country at heart. Unfortunately, each in his/her own way has sold out to the nastiness of partisan party politics (and I look forward to a day when maybe that is no longer necessary), but I can still find a lot of good in all of them. McCain’s distinguished career as a Senator, his service to his country in the military and his ability to bridge division among his colleagues are all to be admired. Sarah Palin, although she has been treated cruelly and unfairly by the media and even by some of my blogger friends, represents so many of the things that are good about our country and she also represents a huge step forward for women. Barack Obama is a credit to African-Americans everywhere and has helped us move forward in race relations. His intelligence and pragmatism have served him well. I have always liked Joe Biden. His devotion to his family and his recovery from tragedy years ago are above reproach.

-- I still believe government is not responsible for fixing our problems. That’s what scares me about the Democrats and about having a Democratic President AND Congress. I am afraid it’s going to be Entitlement City.

-- Sadly, with the state of the economy and the focus on the middle class, there has been little if any talk this election season about the plight of the poor and downtrodden. Gone are the discussions about partnering with faith based organizations and the thousand points of light. But the “least of these” are still out there – the people who don’t worry about keeping a home but just having a place to sleep; the AIDS and Cancer patients who don’t have the family support to take care of them; the crack babies. And that’s just in this country. Read a little bit about what’s going on in Darfur. It’s enough to put all of this stuff in perspective.

-- And finally, as I have pondered the election and the plight of our country, I have been reading through the Gospels. Each of the writers – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – presents a different perspective on the life of Jesus, yet there is a recurring theme. Although it was a drastically different time when He walked the earth, many of the problems were the same. There were political divisions, economic challenges and oppression of the weak. And yet this guy who mysteriously claimed to be fully God and fully man challenged his followers to lead simple lives of service to others, to love God with all their hearts, souls and minds and love their neighbors as they loved themselves. The message was so radical, so completely earth-shattering, that He was put to death for it.

-- So that’s where I am today – trying to figure out what loving my neighbor as myself means for me. As much as I concern myself with the election and the economy, this is really much more important. I went to the Gospels for insight and oh my, did I get it. Am I willing to live a life so radical and earth-shattering, so much that I would die for it?


Redlefty said...

Great post, Bob. I share your concerns and your hopes, and your focus on the personal in the midst of it all.

Grace and peace to you!

Kelly said...

I agree... Great post!!

Personally, I've spent a lot of time in Philippians recently. Wiersbe provides a wonderful commentary, and as I deal with all the ups and downs of life these days I truly seek to "Be Joyful" in all circumstances.

Bob said...

That's the rub with this Christianity thing . . . life can be falling down around us yet there are these little gems like "Love your neighbor,"
"Pray without ceasing," "Give thanks in everything" and this doozy from Psalms: "When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, thy consolations delight my soul." Oh wow.

Anonymous said...

Hello sir. First time reader. I just wanted to say that if the tone of this post was reflected by the GOP I'd have a much harder time casting my vote this year.

Bob said...

Thanks for reading, Rodolfo. Care to elaborate?

Anonymous said...

Well I liked that it sounded respectful. Maybe the Sarah Palin that they rolled out during the conventions wasn't her. We know the media isn't always fair but the GOP had an opportunity to turn the page away from Karl Rove tactics and they didn't. The McCain campaign *chose* this route so it's their fault if they lose.

There are many first-time voters tuning in this year (like me) and all the noise I could hear from the GOP was that Obama's a black, communist, Muslim terrorist, baby-killing 60s radical.

This is a year we need to appeal to our better angels and Obama was the most effective candidate in promoting that.

Bob said...

Point well taken. As I said, they all have, at some point, sold out. Unfortunately that has become part of politics. Sucks, doesn't it?

I don't remember hearing from the GOP or its loose affiliates the specific items to which you refer, but neither do I doubt it. Ridiculous. You might also remember the anti-McCain ads referring to his age and his inability to use a computer. Ouch.

quid said...

Very thoughtful post, Bob. I too share your fear of entitlements. I trust the Democrat Congressional leaders about as far as I can throw them.

I believe that there are still people who see Obama as historic because he is black, not because he has such great leadership potential. I still believe in the John McCain I've voted for, but I don't think he's around much in the 2008 incarnation. I believe that Biden is a sincerely nice guy and knowledgeable, even if prone to gaffe. I believe in what you said when you said that Sarah Palin represents a huge step forward for women, but not for the reason you do. I believe that the majority of American women now know that they will not stand to think their votes could be purchased by gender.

Some of the things I want to have happen in the next 4 years have fallen by the wayside with our focus on the economy and our lashing out across political boundaries (and other silly stuff). I remain optimistic that they will be addressed.

I get my source of inspiration from a different foundation than you do, but your own optimism and its source are inspirational.

Bob said...

Thanks Quid. As I have previously stated, I really do like Obama and if/when he's elected he has my full support. Not to beat it to death, but he and I just have some fundamental differences. But, as someone wise once said, we can disagree without being disagreeable (or should be able to!).

Bob said...

One more thing Quid . . . I agree with votes not being "purchased by gender." Neither should they be purchased by race. Unfortunately, both women and African-Americans have had to prove themselves simply because of their gender/race. Regardless of how we might feel about Palin or Obama from a political perspective, both have, I believe, helped us progress toward equality. May it ever be so. Thanks again.

Tit for Tat said...

Good post, Im a little befuddled though. Being Canadian and having an outside perspective, Im just curious how any one could vote Republican when its pretty obvious who got you here over the last 8 yrs. Isnt the defintion of insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? Just so you know, even though you havnt been attacked since 911, the world has definately become more dangerous due to your Republican policies. Remember as much as we love our neighbours too, we get a little concerned when the Parties they have get out of hand.