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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Eulogy for a World Gone By

It’s 1:30PM on Tuesday, November 4, 2008 – Election Day! I have already voted so I don’t have to fight the crowds today. I’m glad. I’m not fond of standing in long lines.

I have a little tiny ray of hope that I won’t hear the words that I expect to hear early this evening, but it’s tiny, very very tiny.

I voted for George W Bush, and I think that history will look more kindly upon him than current opinion polls do. It is no small feat in my view that we have been spared another terrorist attack within our national borders, and Bush’s dogged single minded determination has had a lot to do with it. I really think that we have not been grateful enough for that, even given his other failings.

On the other hand, between the costs of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the costs related to two major hurricanes, the passing of budgets that contained too much spending, the bursting of the housing bubble, and the unprecedented “bailout” plans, well, to say the least our economy is in need of a “correction” which will, I think, be long and painful. It is not just our leaders’ fault. Our buy-now-pay-later culture is in need of a massive correction as well. The American people need to find a different way. I have often said that if just the Christian folks in the United States started to get serious about addressing their own materialism and hunger for affluence we would go into a deep recession if not a depression. Contentment does not high consumer spending numbers make.

In my mind George Bush’s greatest failure has been his inability to articulate vision or explain things well or motivate the American people. There was a time when his grammatical shenanigans were merely embarrassing and a little funny. We past that point long ago (shout out, JB). We need a president who can speak in complete sentences.

I am not really all that hot about MCain/Palin. I do think McCain would make a good president, but he has run a very odd and awkward campaign. My vote this year was more a vote against than a vote for.

When I first started hearing and paying attention to Obama I was attracted to him as a person and as a candidate and as a leader. Then there was a point during the primaries when I felt that I saw into him. I also saw how he was subtly using the race card to manipulate voters, and my support went over to Hillary Clinton. But by then it was too late.

What I have seen in Obama the last several months worries me very much. No, I don’t think he is a Muslim, and other than the fact that he has said he is a Christian, I wouldn’t really care either way if he were a Muslim. His race is not an issue for me, except that it makes me slightly more inclined to feel a little glad that as a country we are at the cusp of electing an African American president. I would rather it were a different African American president; but still, it truly is an historic moment in our nation’s history. If anything I would more inclined to vote for him because he is black.

What bothers me most about Obama is that I believe that he has gone to great lengths to hide from the American people who he truly is as a person and politician. That he has done this in the bright light of day speaks to a profoundly keen political acumen.

For me the highlight of the whole election process was his interview with Bill O’Reilly. I thought Obama did an incredibly good job. That was one of the best political interviews I have ever watched. Obama was impressive to me at many levels.

Bu when I see Obama now I see a divider, not a uniter. I see a person who is much more politically radical than he projects himself to be. I don’t mean “radical” as a compliment, though I sometimes do mean the word that way. In Obama I see a person riven by a deep anger. He is smooth and articulate and charming and composed, but underneath all that is an extreme agenda which seems to me to be rooted in anger.

Despite his great skill as a political campaigner, he has slipped up, and between his slip ups and information uncovered about him, a foreboding picture emerges for me. What is it? Well, it is his remarks about rural and small town folk to his radically liberal buddies in San Francisco. It is his plan to create some sort of domestic security force with funding and ability to match our military. It is his history of association with radical leftist characters. It is his now very clear desire to redistribute wealth. It is his particular plan to increase the tax burden upon businesses. It is the ease in which he accepts adulation of a messianic nature. It is his hubris in Denver with the columns; his hubris in planning a massive victory party weeks before the election was over. It is the specter of the “Fairness” doctrine. It is his radical views regarding late term abortions and the disingenuous manner in which he has wiggled around that issue. It is purported non support of gay marriage while actually taking positions politically, such as opposing the Defense of Marriage act, that are tantamount to complete and radical support of gay marriage. I think, in short, that Obama is a much more radical leftist ideologue than he comes across, and somewhere along the line, maybe about the hundredth time that he complained (in his patronizing manner) that his words “were being taken out of context,” I stopped listening to his answers.

I don’t know if Obama is sincere when he talks about a “different way to do business” in Washington. I think in fact that he is sincere, which worries me greatly, because what I think he means by it is profoundly different than what the American people mean by it.

I think we’re in for a tsunami of radical left wing legislation coming forth from Congress, signed by Obama, and forced upon an American people the majority of whom (even in voting for him) are intending and desiring something less radical. Eventually the left will over extend, during which time conservatives perhaps will have found leaders who can articulate a political conservatism for the 21st century. Whatever it means to be conservative in a secular nation undergoing significant cultural change in the midst of massive economic globalization has yet to be determined.

The current Republican Party can’t decide what it is or what it stands for. The current Republican President has failed either to articulate or to act consistently with any clear political vision. I would hope that any President would be able to compromise and reach across the aisle (as they say), and I am not keen about left wing or right wing ideologues. If one is going to reach across the aisle one should know from what and from where they are reaching, and so should the American people.

So, anticipating left wing control of all three branches of government I am filled with foreboding. I am glad that my own personal life hope does not rest in the powers and principalities of this age. Yet still I do feel some fear, mostly for my children and their children, fear for how they will deal with the economic mess we are giving over to them already, and fear for how they will fare in the new world being created (as it were) this day, this very day, this very moment, fear for the culture of death they will inherit. There will be a lasting legacy, I think more for ill than for good.

Meanwhile, as Hopkins wrote, “the Holy Ghost over the bent World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.” Beauty and goodness are to be found every day and in all kinds of unexpected places, and in the eyes of human beings whom I find unceasingly interesting, their stories, their lives, their quirks and interests and gifts.

So, life goes on, for me with more trepidation than before, yet wanting irregardless the political winds to do good, to seek justice, to celebrate the world God has created, and to try to point people beyond themselves, and beyond political parties and election decisions to deeper and more abiding realities. I hope I can. I want to.

Joel Gillespie
November 4, 2008

1 comment:

Brenda Bowers said...

Thank you Joel. You are speaking eloquently for many of us today. Brenda