Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Visitors

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Obama from a unique vantage point.

I haven't been too prolific on this blog, so I thought of something quasi-relevant that I wanted to put out there.....

Being a dyed-in-the-wool Republican, Conservative, Right-Wing (though not politically active) Robot for so much of my life has given me a unique perspective through-out this campaign.  4 years ago I voted for Bush.  I admit it. I apologize profusely.  I had a completely different understanding of politics then, and didn't look much past his (supposedly) pro-life stance regarding abortion.  All my friends were voting for him too, and everyone likes to be validated by group-think.  Anyway, I stayed up all night praying fervently that Bush would win so that he could 'rise up' and take the mantle of leadership once again, fulfilling the generational call of godliness on his family.  

I'll give you a minute so you can collect yourself by either picking your jaw off the keyboard, cleaning spewed vomit off the computer screen, or wiping the tears of hysteria from your eyes.  

Everyone ok now?  Good, let's move on.  

At some magical point in the last 4 years I came out of my right-wing stupor to risk reading Obama's book....The Audacity of Hope.  I admit the chapter on financial stuff was a bore because I didn't understand a word of it, but the rest was a healing balm to my heart.  I had already been playing with the devil by reading more liberal theology and listening to leaders in the Emergent Church movement, so I guess reading liberal authors was the next natural step.  I even picked up Hillary's books.  Now I'd really damned myself!  I *do* distinctly remember some visiting folk from the UK coming to our church and expressing confusion over how American christians cling to the Republicans....over the pond the majority of christians support the Liberal candidates. That got me thinking more, and my slippery slide to the 'dark side' continued.  :o)

I admit I've been pretty harsh towards the hypnotic way the conservative part of the evangelical Church follows the Republican candidates around  (here's proof, and here , and here and....well, you get the idea).  I try to have grace for the many, many kindhearted people who continue to vote 'pro-life' as I did for so long.  Most of them don't pay an iota of attention to the news or the debates or the platforms.  They just find out who is the pro-life candidate, and pull the lever/push the button.  I'm sure some feel a certain amount of smugness, as I did with the more mouthy Republicans, when the other She Who Must Not Be Named lets fly a zinger in her back-assward way.  But on the whole, they don't believe government is in charge's all murky and messed's feable attempt to fix himself and others.  The only issue that matters is abortion, which they see as child murder.  When I was in that frame of mind, it was because I'd never taken time to go any deeper into a candidate's agenda.  What else could possibly be more important than stopping the murder of children?!  I didn't take the time to really understand any other point of view.  To do so meant risking friendships, your spiritual standing with God, and who knows what else.  Too scarey, too much time investment.  

I know it sounds incredibly  simplistic....a stubborn and willing ignorance of the plight of other suffering Americans and peoples around the globe.  But that was excused by the 'more important' issue of babies being killed.  If you've never been in that circle of thought, let me tell you, it's hard to have a different opinion.  Many conflicted christian friends have told me they love Obama, but cannot in 'good conscience' vote for a pro-choice candidate.  The guilt is too heavy a burden.  That's the power of indoctrination.  It's just made more horrible because it is linked with pleasing God and staying in favor with your clan.  We're all indoctrinated in something that makes it hard to understand an opposing viewpoint.......somehow, and I don't know why or how, I decided to touch the fire and try to understand the Democratic platform on legalized abortion.  And it changed me completely.  (See this for some perspective from a pro-life Obama supporter.  Brilliant and well-articulated.)  

Something else that helped me along....the Mennonite church.  Yes indeed.  I'm not talking about the skirted, doilie-wearing type....I'm talking the liberal, social-justice type.  Very traditional in practice, but very focused on serving the world with no strings attached.  Also, my fellow blogger here, Angie, gently warmed me up to the Dems thru working on Tom Henry's local mayoral election.  (thank you thank you thank you!)

I honestly think if Obama hadn't decided to run for Pres, I would probably still be slogging around in my non-political worldview, though.  Thankfully, his unique candidacy based on compassion and personal responsibility just 'clicked' with my new-found understanding of Jesus' gospel.  The floodgates of opportunity to do good to my neighbor opened wide, and so many things began to make sense.  

So now, watching the election (and primary) unfold this year, I've struggled to be gracious to people who praise mean-spiritedness while praising God.  I've wrestled with accepting that not everyone will see things in my 'new perspective' and will stay on the 'one-issue voter' bandwagon.  They may even go beyond that issue and actually agree with Bush's policies (I do know several really nice folks in this category).  But I really want to be a true Obama supporter....and put petty judgements aside and work on rebuilding a healthy community within this vast, diverse country. Somehow I MUST learn to accept people where they are, whether they agree with me or not.  I MUST learn to find that common human thread between myself and any other person I come in contact with.  If I don't, I'm simply being a poor representative of Obama's vision.  Just as many 'christians' are poor representatives of Jesus' vision.   One of my favorite bumper stickers says "Jesus, save me from your followers".  I don't want to be a distraction like that to Sen. Obama.  

Afterall, it wasn't some Democrat ranting about Republicans that changed my heart and mind. It was the goodness and acceptance for all that Obama talks about that drew me.  Obama, not the Democrats, inspired me to rethink my 'christian' values and how they play out in the public arena.  Meeting and fostering friendships with people (Angie!) who came from a completly different perspective who consistently modelled kindness and a 'others-focused' lifestyle also gently wooed me away from conservative pragmaticism.

So while the hordes clamour around our brilliant candidate, I feel even more priviledged to be part of this movement....because I know how long and trecherous my journey to get here has been.  Obama will forever represent my gigantic paradigm shift.  This election cycle will always bring to mind the siesmic change in my thoughts and faith.  It has been a precious gift, in a way, and regardless of the outcome when the dawn comes Nov. 5th, it's been a helluva ride. 

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

"Obama" by Pistol Opera - The Video!

Oops! I just realized that Robert beat me to the punch on this one! =)

Earlier this year, friend of the blog Eli Braden of Pistol Opera, sent me an early demo of his new song about Barack Obama. It was amazingly good, and I posted it here to share with all of you. I just received an email from Eli advising me that the band had made a cool new funny video for the track. I am honored and pleased to present that to you here and now - Ladies and Gentlemen, Pistol Opera!

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pistol Opera performing "OBAMA"


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Monday, September 29, 2008

Barack in the Virginia Rain

I've heard several progressives express frustration that Barack hasn't attacked enough, that he hasn't enough shown anger and outrage. I submit this video for your approval:

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

John McCain Wants to Delay First Debate with Obama. It Seems Like a Political Ploy.

This is from Handsome B. Wonderful over at The Political Junkie. In a strange twist, John McCain this afternoon has decided to try and postpone the first debate this Friday to focus on the economic crisis and return to Washington D.C.:
"At 8:30 this morning, Senator Obama called Senator McCain to ask him if he would join in issuing a joint statement outlining their shared principles and conditions for the Treasury proposal and urging Congress and the White House to act in a bipartisan manner to pass such a proposal. At 2:30 this afternoon, Senator McCain returned Senator Obama’s call and agreed to join him in issuing such a statement. The two campaigns are currently working together on the details," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said in an e-mail to reporters sent immediately after McCain spoke.

McCain's dramatic and unexpected statement seems to undercut any overtures he might have been making to bipartisanship. Instead of issuing a joint statement with Obama -- as the two campaigns apparently had discussed -- McCain chose to snag the spotlight for himself with a flamboyant display.
TPJ: I'm not sure why he's doing this except to try and gain some ground on the economic field where he has been lacking. So here's my view, we can do two things at once, a president has to be able to multi-task. The debate only takes one evening, it's not like it's a week long symposium of something. I don't think the bailout bill depends upon Obama and McCain being there on Friday. I don't think they are going to vote on anything Friday and as far as I know they haven't even set a date at all to vote. This seems like a political stunt by McCain. Country first? That's what he would have believe with this odd move. Especially since he has missed more votes than any other Senator in the current session of Congress. However, it looks more like the candidate putting himself first in a desperate attempt to shift the focus away from his terrible economic record and lack of understanding.

It's unlikely that Congress would be voting on a bailout during the few hours the candidates would be debating, and Obama previously announced plans to return to Washington Saturday morning. Congress is expected to remain in session through the weekend to pass legislation addressing the current crisis.

---End of Transmission---

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Obama and McCain Tax Proposals

From the Washington Post


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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Joe Biden in Kailspell, Montana


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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Free Obama-Biden sticker

Act now and you can get a free Obama-Biden sticker from Here's an image of the actual sticker and a link to order your free sticker today - they even pay for shipping - if you call an envelope shipping.
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The choice is Joe Biden!

The Huffington Post has scooped the emails and text messages thanks to an Obama insider who chose - for obvious reasons - to remain anonymous. According to the authors of the piece - Liz Sodoti and Nedra Pickler:

Barack Obama selected Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware late Friday night to be his vice presidential running mate, according to a Democratic official, balancing his ticket with an older congressional veteran well-versed in foreign policy and defense issues.

Biden, 65, has twice sought the White House, and is a Catholic with blue-collar roots, a generally liberal voting record and a reputation as a long-winded orator.

Across more than 30 years in the Senate, he has served at various times not only as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee but also as head of the Judiciary Committee, with its jurisdiction over anti-crime legislation, Supreme Court nominees and Constitutional issues.

In selecting Biden, Obama passed over several other potential running mates, none more prominent than former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, his tenacious rival in dozens of primaries and caucuses.

The official who spoke did so on condition of anonymity, preferring not to pre-empt a text-message announcement the Obama campaign promised for Saturday morning.

Obama's campaign arranged a debut for the newly minted ticket on Saturday outside the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Ill.

Hundreds of miles to the west, carpenters, electricians, sound stage gurus and others transformed the Pepsi Center in Denver into a made-for-television convention venue.

Tucked away in one corner were thousands of lightweight rolled cardboard tubes, ready-made handles for signs bearing the names of the Democratic ticket _ once the identity of Obama's running mate was known.

I've had a feeling for a long time that Biden would be the choice. I knew that Hillary Clinton's actions and words during the primaries precluded her from even a short list. While Tim Kaine might have helped Obama in Virginia, there were more measures in play. Evan Bayh shouldn't have even been in the running - and I know I'm speaking heresy to many other Hoosiers - because he was a poor match for the fiery oration Obama is known for. To be honest, Bayh is too damn bland. Besides, he wasn't very kind to Obama while he was on the campaign trail for Hillary.

Biden on the other hand is also a gifted orator and a bit of a bulldog who will chew McCain and his running mate to bits between now and November. That is the job of the running mate, to make the hits and leave the head of the ticket in the clear.

McCain has been tenacious in his attacks on Obama and it hasn't been until the last week or two that Obama started to fight back. The campaign needed a hitman and they got the best in Joe Biden.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

My American Prayer - Dave Stewart


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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Saddleback and forth

So Barack Obama and John McCain decided to sit down with Pastor Rick Warren at the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. It is certainly brave of Obama to venture into an obviously conservative evangelical setting where many of the questions are going to be directed at him from an evangelical viewpoint. That said, Obama probably knows his Scripture better than McCain. I don't see McCain as a regular church goer by any stretch of the imagination. He's a lot quicker to go for the four letter word than most politicians and his treatment of his first wife is less than moral.
One of the first questions Warren asks Obama "Who are the three wisest people you know in your life and who are you going to rely on heavily in your administration?" After excluding Warren, he mentioned his wife and Grandmother, but I have to wonder howpeople who think of Obama as ultra liberal will react to learn that two of his choices were Indiana Republican Senator Richard Lugar and Oklahoma conservative Tom Coburn in addition to Sam Nunn and Ted Kennedy. He added, "What I've found is very helpful to me is to have a table where a lot of different points of view are represented and where I can sit and poke and prod and ask them that any blind spots I have or predispositions that I have that my assumptions are challenged."
On the question of the definition of marriage, Obama is still playing it too safe by mentioning civil unions instead of supporting gay marriage. I suppose this is to be expected considering the fact that he has to woo many evangelicals to ensure a victory in the fall, but he is falling into the trap of politics as usual. Then again, he did get applause from the group inside the church with his definition of marriage.
I did like that Obama attempted to show that Jesus would probably be a Democrat if he lived in the United States today when he quoted the New Testament and Jesus from the Book of Matthew in answer to a question about America's moral failings, "whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me." Not exactly where most conservatives stand. He added, "We still don’t abide by that basic precept. That basic principal applies to poverty, it applies to racism, to sexism, it applies to not providing ladders of opportunity for people to get into the middle class."
One of the biggest differences in answers between the two men came after Warren asked for their definition of wealthy. Obama first joked and said, "You know if you’ve got book sales of 25 million …" This was an obvious reference to Warren's book "The Purpose Driven Life" which is purported to be the biggest selling non-fiction book in history. The audience laughed and Warren proceeded to high-five Obama over his answer. Obama then settled down and said $250,000. McCain's answer? Five Million dollars. Well, that explains why McCain thinks Obama's plan to raise taxes on people making more than $250,000 a year is taxing the "poor". I would LOVE to make $250,000 a year.
I like the fact that Warren obviously has a grasp on pop culture. He referred to the sound-proof room where McCain stayed during Obama's portion of the forum as "the cone of silence". Any "Get Smart" fan worth their while knows all about that reference.
During the midpoint, after McCain was introduced, Obama not only shook the Arizona Senator's hand, he also embraced him. I wonder if Dubya got jealous.
Many of McCain's answers were clearly playing to the Conservatives in the audience. When Warren asked him what point a baby is entitled to Human Rights, McCain quickly answered, "at the moment of conception. I have a 25 year pro-life record in congress, in the senate. This presidency will have pro-life policies. That’s my commitment to you."
This may be the fundamental - no pun intended - issue evangelicals will vote on. As odd as it may seem, most evangelicals would rather vote for a candidate who would make their lives and living conditions worse so long as they were pro-life.
Considering the audience and the questions, I think Obama did remarkably well. Perhaps his candor moved a few evangelicals to his side. We can only hope.
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