I have taken a bit of a break from writing about anything of a political nature. I do not know if the reason is that my most recent reading has been Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne and Jesus for President by Shane and Chris Haw. Or, if I have not written because school got out in June and I no longer felt obligated to keep the political discussion fires going with my son (We home schooled him his senior year and following the presidential race was part of the curriculum). The fact that the Democrats will be having their convention next week might have a little something to do with my renewed interest. However, I must give most of the credit to Rachel Evans at Evolving in Monkey Town for bringing my attention to a recent political forum at Saddleback Church. Check out her blog.
The forum at Saddleback consisted of Pastor Warren asking both Senator Obama and Senator McCain a series of questions as the other man was off stage in a sound proof room. The discussion at Evolving in Monkey Town seemed focused on two responses by Senator McCain and what Rachel described as a disturbing irruption of applause on the part of the evangelical audience. Before I heard any part of the forum I found myself spouting off in the comment section about the voting records of the two candidates and how I felt those would inform my vote more than the stump speeches I heard from either individual. Yet the more I have thought about these two men and the more I listen to them and to those supporting them, the more I wonder about my original thinking.
A man with whom I have little in common beyond our love for good coffee (I got to know him at my favorite local coffee house and bakery.) and a heartfelt discussion has also given me some food for thought, especially with regard to Senator McCain’s POW experience and its impact on his perception of the American military, our enemies, and his foreign policy positions. My friend and I have gone round about on a number of issues over the last few years. And, I am perhaps the most unusual Christian he has ever met because I care about subjects like world hunger, debt reduction, and the environment. (Note: I am not saying other Christians do not care about these topics only that my friend’s perception of Christians is that they do not).
As I ponder what faces America after the coming election I am torn. When I listen to the two men who are running for president I am inspired by Senator Obama’s rhetoric. He sounds passionate about topics that concern me. I like that I hear him talk about rolling up our collective sleeves and ALL getting to work. I like what I hear from Senator Obama but I am nervous about his voting record. Senator McCain, on the other hand, causes me to cringe more when he talks then when he shows up for a vote. As a senator he proved he was willing to work with the Democrats to get important legislation through, even legislation that was unpopular with his own party. Still, much of his talk gives me pause. I do not believe that radical Islamic thinking produces our greatest national security risk, for example. And, while I agree that we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil I do not necessarily think drilling in Alaska or Glacier National Park is the best option to pursue.
I read in Saturday’s paper that Senator Obama plans to pick Senator Biden as his running mate. If this is true, I am afraid the man’s rhetoric will prove to be gutless as well. Senator Biden is old school. He is safe (for the Democrats, not necessarily for the country). He is boring and not very nice. Sometimes, he is not even civil. I hope this announcement is the DNC’s attempt to push Senator Obama around a little, to try to pressure him or put a leash on him. But, I am afraid the senator’s lack of experience is showing. I am afraid his insecurity is kicking in.
I want America to have a foreign policy that looks beyond our immediate self interest. I want problems like poverty, hunger, AIDs, and the environment to matter. I want us to respond to the rest of the world like we understand we are blessed and have a responsibility to be a blessing. I want us to engage in fair trade policies and put an end to sweat shops and tax shelters. I want the 11 million children who die of hunger and preventable disease around the world to matter as much as the one million who die at the hands of abortionists in the United States. I want to be a nation that celebrates life, not a nation that destroys it.
Because I care about many, many issues I will vote for one of the two major candidates running for president. But, I will not put all my eggs in either one of their baskets. The Kingdom of God has too much at stake to make the mistake of thinking American politicians will pursue it without being shown the way.