So we all got to know a little more about Sarah Palin last night. I have to admit I was bouncing back between the speech and my college football game I was playing on PS2 - that will give you plenty of fodder to express how far from a true American I am. If I get home tonight I'll watch McCain's with my attention undivided. However, a few comments on Palin.
She's an impressive figure with a broad appeal to be sure. She undoubtedly will appeal to the conservative base in this country, though I really wonder how she will do with independents and conservative Democrats. Her in-your-face, no-holds-bar facade will do well with the conservative down-home moms, but left me a little wanting. I kept having this feeling, all through the speech, that I was listening to a revamped George W. Bush intimidation speech done with a skirt on. The "snide" (that was what some of the Democrats thought of the speech) comments constantly coming from her were strange and left me scratching my head. I mean, I suppose I understand from a political standpoint what was going on, but I still found the whole thing really odd. The cynic in me believes the Republicans are really just participating in underhanded sexism - putting the mother of 5 (oh yeah, with the baby with Down's Syndrome that they kept), dealing with family problems (pregnant daughter, who hasn't been there?), working class husband . . . all that - it's great, I'm not knocking that, don't read that, I just wonder if her part on the ticket is more about all that than any political fortitude she brings to the country.
OK, that made me sound like a Democratic sounding post . . . I'm trying to get away from all that. My real concern is to read her speech through as a Christian. How should I interpret her words through the lens of my faith? The snideness undermines alot of the Christian value I would have hoped to see in a woman who is such a stalwart Christian, but I'll pass on that because that has become the way we do politics in this country. Give me someone who doesn't worry at all about the other candidate and attempts to win the votes on their own merit, and then my ears will really perk up to listen.
I guess the aspect of Palin (and not just her but the whole McCain ticket) that really worries me from a Christian perspective is their insistence on scare tactics. Palin's whole deal, "My son's going to war and I want someone who's been there, etc. etc." doesn't connect with me. Now I know it does with alot of Americans, but I don't see the appeal for Christians. Why must we fear our boundaries? We are Christians! We have no boundaries. There are Christians in the nations we are bombing. Our nation has killed Christians. If you have not thought about that, then you have sold out to your nationalism too far. Is there ever a perfect solution? Of course not. However, in Obama's devotion to diplomacy, I feel we would be taking important steps forward, making back up some of the diplomatic ground that we have lost over the past 8 years.
I find it very interesting that my Christian peers are so afraid of the deterioration of the moral fabric of our nation, while casting a blind eye at the terrible name our country has (and read: MORAL name) across the globe. And in our entirely snobbish nationalistically centered ways, we think they are all wrong and ill-founded and ungrateful and fill in the blank. American Christians must cure their myopia and see the world larger than one or two issues.
I appreciate Palin and all that she represents for women. As a side note, it says a great deal about the Democratic party that this dog and pony show came their way (with Geraldine Ferraro) more than 20 years ago, and now they are breaking new ground on race - imagine how long it will be before the Republican party gets there? I'm not saying you vote for anyone because of their anatomy or skin color, but you have to grant a party something for breaking those barriers first. If you are unwilling to concede that, I feel you have been significantly jaded by your political lenses.
So the race if off. Much good was said of Palin and rightfully so. The real corrective, in all the debates and discussion, will be the facts. (More people should check out www.factcheck.org and websites like that as they get us a little closer to the actual facts). It is as difficult to see through the rhetoric in politics as it is in religion. Should I teach my Sunday school class on voting for the right candidate or the role of women in church? I suppose either choice would be as caustic. If we could just stick to the facts. The great philosophical realization we're all forced to come to terms with, however, is that there are never just facts. All facts have to be interpreted. My favorite thing to do in this political season is to watch these speeches and then flip back and forth between Fox News and the other news stations and listening to the different perspectives. I sit there and listen and say to myself, "Wait a minute, didn't we just all watch the same speech." Perspective is a powerful thing! Read my last post!
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