Thursday, October 16, 2008

Still undecided...

I know, I know it's late in the game.  And it's mostly a foregone conclusion anyway (especially for my state).  But I'm stubbornly undecided at this point.  I wish I could take a number of Obama's characteristics and number of McCain's characteristics and have a create-your-own-candidate candidate.  But, alas, no such option exists!

Randy Alcorn makes some interesting comments that have me thinking, though.  The upshot being that, like Alcorn, I really, really want to vote for Obama and I really, really want to believe the rhetoric.  But the data is, again, hard and cold. Obama's rhetoric just doesn't match up to his record (of course, neither does McCain's - but McCain's not running based on rhetoric...).  Obama will likely win the election, and he will win it almost entirely (and for one of the few times in American presidential history) based on symbolism over substance.

And that's part of what pains me.  I love the symbolism - and, believe me, like Randy Alcorn, I want:

" show the world that [I am] cool enough to support the coolest political candidate who's come along in decades."

Obama is exciting and refreshing and he says all the things I (we?) want to hear about ourselves, our futures, our hopes and dreams - and beyond this, he would reflect in his presidency how we'd like America to be (even though we're really not) .  But is there any reality behind his words? In what evidence or data do we take refuge and solace that the words will not be empty echoes? I, sadly, can find none.  Instead, I find party-line politics, tactics, policies, positions and plans that are frankly tired, old, worn out and unimpressive. There is no innovation, no real "new deal" - it's the same policies as Mondale and Dukakis - who were run off the American stage by their own folks to avoid being tarred and feathered by the rest of us.

Of course, the problem is that the same thing is true of the other candidate.  Nothing new here.  No new solutions.

So how do you decide? One is a hopeful (or naive) approach, the other is a cynical (or patient) approach.  Obama may turn out, despite the evidence, to be something other than smoke and mirrors. Vote and hope for Obama.  McCain may actually restore some balance by preventing a single-party Legislative, Judicial and Executive branch alingment. Vote and wait for McCain.



Scott said...

Alcorn's article, to me, is still given to a lot of the extremist language of the anti-abortion right (which, to me, is vastly different from being pro-life). Positing the discussion with the rhetoric of "child-killing" and "innocent blood" contributes nothing to the debate and only seeks to further the divide.
I don't agree across the board with Obama's voting record on the subject but I am greatly heartened at his acknowledgment last night of abortion as a moral issue and the need to reduce its frequency, the inclusion of such language in their recent platform, the prime speaking role for Bob Casey in this year's convention (and don't think for a moment that wasn't without Obama's explicit approval) and the hope of people like Jim Wallis who wrote on this just today at Huffington Post.

Jeff said...

Scott -

Again, it's a question of whether or not you believe the rhetoric.

I agree that Obama has put some very encouraging language out there on the idea of reducing abortions, etc., (which I attached much hope to at first) but the overwhelming evidence is that he is 100% pro-abortion in the sense that he plans to remove all restrictions placed on abortion and will lean toward the most radicalized interpretation of Roe v. Wade (a ruling that, while, ultimately, morally bankrupt, is at least, conservatively read, a stop-gap compromise between the extreme positions) which I just find inexcusable.

I think both sides have used and continue to use plenty of extremist language. I think you have to be open-minded enough to not let that be a red herring to issues on either side.

Regardless, and again, the issue here is whether Obama's rhetoric is in concert and keeping with his long-standing beliefs and practices - i.e., is there a reasonable trajectory from his past into the future he is projecting for us to believe? He seems to fail this test.

Again, I'm all over the fact that Republicans use this as a wedge issue - a political gimmick to keep Christians in the voting bloc, then produce little of value. I'm no McCain supporter. But at least he wouldn't "undo" what little good has been accomplished on this front.

This isn't the deciding issue for me (if it were, Obama would already be "off the table"), but as I apply my objective "data trajectory" test to the various issues that attract me to Obama, I see a consistent pattern of disparity between his rhetoric and his history that I find disconcerting. Under that grim light he looks less and less like a political outsider and change agent and more and more like more of the same.

Steve said...

I took "Dreams of My Father" with me on last week's business trip. Am 160 pages into it and am deeply impressed with his power of expression and his desire to understand himself and others. He can write. And he does seem to possess a lot of insight into human nature. If I understood the interview correctly, Chris Buckley, whose Dad started the modern Conservative movement, seems to think that Obama will have the sense to use his head rather than his ideology in governing, if he gets in.

Anonymous said...

Not sure how Obama can even be a consideration. Agree---that combining some things would be ideal...However, with that NOT being is an easy answer--MCCAIN. The beginning point is how does each candidate match up with Christian principles---NOT EVEN CLOSE HERE. Moreover, the socialistic philosphy is a dangerous route for a troubled nation. Biden did not even believe in him--and now he is his running does this get ignored? Then you have his tax plan. Yes--MCCAIN is more for big business...and this is ultimately important to the overall economy. Mr. Charmings (Obama) makes promises to the middle class (most of the country)--Obama is smart for sure...don't blame him for this one. However, these promises are empty and a lot of rhetoric with no solid justification. He has a lack of business planning, lack of proven leadership, and no proven track record...only leaves him his suave style and charm. This alone will ruin our don't be fooled. He has the most liberal points of view and voting record. And that is going to change now? WHY? I can't buy into that at all. In hiring don't take chances based on what they say they can do (well you can but in practice ...most of these hires end in disaster). You base it on their track record...and their history. And even here you don't always WIN...but you WIN more this way than hiring on promises with no history. Please reconsider your pontential vote for the wrong candidate. Plus if you vote for are voting with Hollywood and some of the most liberal characters in the US.
--Just a thought...
Thanks, RO

Todd and Nanci said...

Doesn't satan come to us not as a scary demon dressed with horns, pitch fork and tail - but as "cool" and with a smooth tongue. When was the last time sin looked frighting and unattractive?
I am beginning to think that God will judge us on how we vote. We as Christians must help the poor, find ways to show society God's love, mercy and justice. No where in the Bible can I fight where God calls a GOVERNMENT to feed the poor take care of widows and orphans. I do find where we as Christians are told to do so and even deacons (At Meadowbrook these are MTC - find that in the Bible)were appointed to be sure it was done. I do know that as Christians we have to take a stand on what is right according to the Bible. The Bible hasn't changed and the sins of 2000 years ago are still the sins of today. How can Christians support political parties that push sinful agendas that are in opposition to the Bible and are influencing our children's beliefs?
What we don't know about Obama is what scares me. The media hides so much that we Christians are like the frogs in the boiling pot. We don't know we are cooking because the heat is slowly being turned up. We are going to wake up and realize we have lost our freedoms and our souls.