Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Losin My Religion

No, not that one. My political religion. Why, after such a great victory, would I be so discouraged? Good question; and let me say up front I could not be more delighted that Barack Obama will be our next President. Let me say it, us liberal Christians don't say it enough, Hallelujah! This is good news, but yet there is bad news in this election season. We are not the people I had hoped we were, and by we I mean Americans and particularly liberals. All the signs were there all along but with the hustle and bustle of the past 22 months it sat just under the surface in my consciousness. But now I can only ask "what is the matter with us? when did we become so jaded, so selfish, so ugly?"

There is a story in the Bible (John 6:35-70) where it becomes pretty obvious that Jesus is bat shit crazy and nearly everybody deserts Him. So He turns to His close disciples and asks if they might be leaving too. Peter answers "where will we go, you have the words of life?" and then Jesus rewarded Peters oath of fealty with another non-seqitur. "We wish you were a little more stable and we know you are going to get us all killed, but you da man! We don't want to be with anybody else, no matter how much you frustrate us" I guess this is how I am feeling about the progressive movement and America in general. I am not going to become a Republican or move to another country, I just wish we could get our shit together. We can't blame our leaders. this is a democracy; we decide how we react. We decide if we are going to get one more jab in on Mr. McCain, we decide if we are going to file a lawsuit against Mr. Obama for visiting his dying grandmother, we decide if we are going to spread specious and anyway unhelpful rumors about Mr. McCain's aunt. Because, you know, Mr. McCain showed a lot of grace in his concession speech, encouraging his supporters to now support our new President; and the citizens, those good hearted Americans, booed and cat called anyway. I think it is we that are corrupting our leaders.

We elected an African American to the Presidency, that is a positive step; it shows that many of us have gotten over some of our prejudice, and that still others are willing to admit that the country is such and unmitigated mess that we need a different solution, because what we have been doing hasn't been working. But, for the most part we did it for ourselves; it does not herald a great enlightening of the American people. We were in trouble, scared, and turned to the guy who most loudly proclaimed that we arrived here due to mismanagement and that he would do things differently; but we are no more tenderhearted, we are no more convinced that our Constitution matters. How can we tell? Just look at the various state referendums.

Voters in Arizona took time out of their busy day to pass a Constitutional amendment marginalizing their GLBT neighbors but couldn't spare the time to punish dishonest businessmen who illegally exploit South American immigrants, preferring to heap condemnation on the heads of those people who have fled to the US to escape economic and political oppression which in many cases exist to enrich American businessmen.

In Arkansas they voted to prohibit gay couples from adopting children; I wonder how this will affect existing families?

In California, Cali-frigging-fornia!, they passed a Constitutional amendment, prohibiting gay marriage. I am conflicted about the abortion notification measure, as I am fully committed to the fact that ones body belongs to oneself, but loving supportive parents might wan the chance to offer comfort to their child. More on this later. The people in California voted for Mr. Obama.

In Colorado they voted to end affirmative action in the public sector. The movie "Men of Honor" tells the true story of Master Chief Petty Officer Carl Brashear, the first African American Navy diver. In one scene it show Chief Brashear completing his certification using a gear bag that had been sabotaged, this was a turning point in his trainer's opinion of him. If a person can perform competitively at a job against great odds then it is just common sense they will excel when the odds are equalized, thus providing exceptional service. Fairness aside, affirmative action provides us with the strongest and most persistent candidates for a job. I too feel that life cannot possible begin at "conception" (if conception could even be determined), and if it did God kills an awful lot of babies, more on that later. The people in Colorado voted for Mr. Obama.

Florida banned gay marriage and voted for Mr. Obama.

Maryland voted to allow a video lottery to pay for public school costs, presumably relieving the tax burden on its citizens and voted for Mr. Obama.

Nebraska voted to end affirmative action, but voted Republican, so this is, at least, consistent.
Additionally, South Dakota voted down their draconian abortion laws, which would appear inconsistent in light of them also voting Republican.

And Washington State voted to legalize physician assisted suicide. I agree that it is wrong to force a terminally ill person to suffer with no hope. The did vote for Mr. Obama.

Michigan voted to allow medical marijuana and stem cell research and voted for Mr. Obama. I support both of these issues.

What is my point? People voted for their personal best interest when given the opportunity but consistently, across the board failed to vote to protect the rights of others. It's my body, dammit, and mind your own business, but we get to tell you what to do with your heart. In a country that get past their prejudices and dogmas to ensures women the rights to their own body; the sick access to effective medication, both in the present and in research for the future, discover creative ways to cut taxes without cutting services and provide a dignified end when life is over; people should be allowed to decide with whom they are going to spend their lives, and be treated with the same dignity and respect for their family as their neighbor, gain justice in the workplace and not be scapegoated for broken immigration and foreign policy.

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