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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