Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A Vote for Change; A Vote to End the Religous Right's Reign of Sadness

Election Day 2008. In three hours, I am going to officially get up and go vote.
I plan to be there at 6:30 a.m. to vote for change.

I hope before I go to bed tonight to know that Barack Obama won the Presidency by large margins---popular and electoral votes.

For my undecided friends, who might only read a line or two, I’ll say two endorsements should lower the fear factor that has been so intensely pushed by the McCain campaign: Warren Buffet and Colin Powell. For the ones of you buying into the “Barack Obama is a socialist” argument—consider that fact that America’s number one investor, one who’s latest biography is named Buffet: The Making of an American Capitalist, is endorsing and advising Obama. For those who fear Barack Obama will be weak on national defense, consider the endorsement of the general in America who has proved he can win wars—Colin Powell.

In 2004 when Barack Obama made his speech to the Democratic Convention, I knew right then that I wanted this to be the voice of America. "We are not just a red America or a blue America---we are the United States of America." After 8 years of leadership that says all we need is 51%, I am hoping that we have a president who will be president of all the people.

Back in the late seventies and early eighties, when I first became of aware of the emerging religious right, I was saddened.

I thought when people who loved Jesus got interested in politics, it would mark a day when there would be concern for the poor—not mocking of the poor. I thought it would mark a day when there was increased enthusiasm for racial inclusion and for leveling the playing field—especially for African-Americans—not resentment towards affirmative action. I thought when Christians got into civic affairs, they would be advocating for a living wage for all workers—not for fighting against the minimum wage and for limiting unions. I thought when Christians gained influence in politics; it would be a day when immigrants would feel the welcoming hand of a rich country ready to share its bounty—not exploitation and backlash. When I thought of committed spiritual folk in public life, I just knew there would be a passion for making sure everyone could have access to high quality healthcare—not of government cutting programs for child healthcare. I thought Christians in government would look for active ways to be good stewards of the earth. I thought Christians in government would be peacemakers.

Sadly, what I thought was not what the emergent Religious Right thought.

The Bush administration has been the culmination of the Religious Right's reign of sadness.

The words of Barack Obama in 2004 reflected the values I have wanted in governmental leadership. There is a role for government in unifying the country, in establishing justice, and working for the general welfare of the people.

Most ethical and social issues cannot be resolved by government, but we can choose a government informed by spiritual and ethical values. Some of the values I have believed Christians can espouse--welcoming the stranger and alien, caring for the sick and the poor, giving the worker his due, punishing evil doers, and peacemaking--are those Barack Obama embraces.

Of the many ethical issues at stake, not all are answered equally well by public policy. There are not simple solutions to all issues and there are only two major parties. Some very important issues, including abortion, stand as difficulties for many people. They are a matter of conscience. That being said, there are many issues at stake and neither of two parties can answer them all.

On the majority of issues amenable to policy, I go for the Obama and Democratic party side.

Barack Obama is the leader we need to inspire the hard work of democracy.
Barack Obama is the leader we need to inspire the hard and dangerous work of peacemaking.

Barack Obama is the leader we need to do justice.
I am going to vote for change.

Monday, October 13, 2008

"Pants on Fire Wrong"

A PolitiFact.com's "Truth-O-Meter" characterizes the idea that Senator Obama ran a radical educational foundation, as not simply false, but malicious. Given the way this subject has raised fear among people, I wish some folks would read the whole piece.

At a time like this, with so much at stake, a run on theTruth-O-Meter seems urgent.

"In short, this was a mainstream foundation funded by a mainstream, Republican business leader and led by an overwhelmingly mainstream, civic-minded group of individuals. Ayers' involvement in its inception and on an advisory committee do not make it radical – nor does the funding of programs involving the United Nations and African-American studies.

This attack is false, but it's more than that – it's malicious. It unfairly tars not just Obama, but all the other prominent, well-respected Chicagoans who also volunteered their time to the foundation. They came from all walks of life and all political backgrounds, and there's ample evidence their mission was nothing more than improving ailing public schools in Chicago. Yet in the heat of a political campaign they have been accused of financing radicalism. That's Pants on Fire wrong."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ferocity, Fraud,and Fear

John McCain,

You delude yourself when you act shocked at the offense taken by John Lewis at the tactics being used by you and your campaign.

Why is that man at your rally afraid for Barack Obama to be president?

Why are my former student and my colleague at school afraid of a potential Obama presidency?

You said it yourself--he is not a man to fear.

You are not debating policy--you are conducting a campaign of fear.

Sarah Palin says Barack Obama pals around with terrorists. You know that isn’t true.

Your approve an ad asserting Barack Obama would give comprehensive sex education to five year-olds. You know that isn’t true.

You let your wife communicate her blood-chilling reaction to Barack Obama's vote on a war funding bill for the troops because there was no timeline for withdrawal, but she excuses your vote against a funding bill because it did include a timeline. You know that is a false rage.

You say we don’t know Barack Obama? You presume we know Sarah Palin in a few weeks, yet we don’t know this man who has revealed his thinking and his life in two books and over two years of interviews and press conferences?

You create a campaign of character assassination--not a policy debate--and then tell your raging crowd that you want a respectful campaign. Ferocious, but respectful?

You feign respect while you fan contempt.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Fear Factor

One of my former students commented:

I think that McCain and Obama are both scary candidates for different reasons, McCain is less scary to me;therefore I have to vote for John McCain.

Gentle student, what do you fear?

An economic meltdown?
An attack on our country?
A wreckless move into an unnecessary war?
An administration that would ignore habeas corpus?



Sunday, October 05, 2008

Who do you want whispering in the President's ear?

Documentarian, Ken Burns, expresses his views of the McCain campaign:

"Even the most ardent true-believers among us must be privately shaking in their boots contemplating a heart-beat-away Palin presidency during these difficult times. When Putin acts up, who do you want whispering in your President's ear: Joe Biden or Sarah Palin?

McCain is a man who once championed openness and fairness in government, who now wants to continue the failed policies of the current administration and who increasingly wants to make the crucial decisions of our democracy behind closed doors with the same cronies who got us into this mess in the first place. And he has shown a profound indifference to and often startling ignorance of economic affairs just as our country inches toward depression.
That threatens to make him the next Herbert Hoover if he should win."

Abortion, Obama, Our conscience

Obama's stance on abortion poses a persistent problem for many of my friends.

Abortion rights stand as a significant issue for many people of faith and conscience--so much so that many feel the Democratic Party platform prohibits them from voting for any candidate of that party. I maintain that there are multiple moral issues at stake in this and other presidential races--issues of justice, of life and death--so that one issue alone does not determine my vote. Further, in a legal and political sense, pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion. To me it means--in a world of some very ugly realities--we should not criminalize this procedure.

In this regard, more than one prominent Catholic anti-abortion scholar has come out for Obama. The Boston Globe's Articles of Faith column, " Another Anti-Abortion Scholar Endorses Obama." brings to light the stance of Nicholas P. Cafardi:

"Obama's support for abortion rights has led some to the conclusion that no Catholic can vote for him. That's a mistake. While I have never swayed in my conviction that abortion is an unspeakable evil…A vote for Sen. John McCain does not guarantee the end of abortion in America. Not even close....Every faithful Catholic agrees that abortion is an unspeakable evil that must be minimized, if not eliminated. I can help to achieve that without endorsing Republicans' immoral baggage. Overturning Roe v. Wade is not the only way to end abortion, and a vote for Obama is not somehow un-Catholic."

He could have said, “a vote for Obama is not un-Christian.”

The article mentions the position of Pepperdine Professor of Constitutional Law, Douglas W. Kmiec which might be of interest on this topic as well.

Today, Krista Tippet's discussion with Amy Sullivan about "Faith: The life of the Party" discussed the left and it's stance this and other issues.

The McCain campaign is going negative as a strategy. I have no doubt that they will be using this issue in a manner that smears Obama by slogan and by distortion. His position alone, without the distortion, is arguable. Taking pro-choice view has its moral challenges, I agree.

But war, torture, immigration, healthcare, poverty, equal justice, taxation, and stewardship of the the economy and the earth present persistent moral problems for the party and the candidacy of John McCain.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Biden argues; Palin speaks and winks

9:00 p.m. Time for the VP Debate to begin.
Okay, I am really nervous. Will she be as full of nonsense as she was with Katie Couric? I know she won't because she's been at debate camp and she's good on stage. I would love to be at Washington University in St. Louis tonight. I think I'll just enter the debater’s remarks as they stand out to me. See my reactions in italics...

Palin: Can I call you Joe?

Palin: Let's go to a kid's soccer game and ask the parents how they feel. Fear is what we will hear.

Palin: John McCain has been for reform. Oh yeah, I remember--he was for reform when he wanted to avenge his 2000 loss to W in South Carolina. I think this man may have some issues with revenge, but I'm not too sure about country first reform. Maybe country club first reform?

Ifill: How would you shrink the partisan divide?
Biden: Follow Mike Mansfield's advice: Don't judge motives. The temperament of Joe Biden as a senator--in actual governance--conveys a good bit about what Obama stands for. Compare this man's stature in foreign policy, in temperament, in bi-partisanship with McCain's choice in Governor Palin.

Ifill: Who was at fault in the subprime meltdown?
Palin: Darn right--it's the greedy lenders.
I hear a cheer: Joe Six Pack; Hockey Moms across the Nation UNITE! UNITE for OVERSIGHT!

Palin: Obama voted 94 times for tax increases
Barack Obama raised taxes on people making $42,000.00
Aren't these distortions? Governor Palin is relying on the ignorance of average Americans about how votes are taken on resolutions in the legislative process. Yes, distortions are us.

Biden: Fairness--- no one making less than $250,000 will get a tax increase

Palin: Patriotic is saying no to government?
I think some conservative Republicans have adopted "government that governs best governs NOT. Review: Katrina; subprime mortgage meltdown ghenna; the Gonzales Justice Department; and the invasion and occupation of Iraq

Palin: on McCain's healthcare plan...I think I heard her say I'd don't think I want to talk about necessarily what the moderator wants to talk about. I don't think I hear the moderator with any pushback on that. Hmmmm.

Yes, tax credits--what every middle class person needs to pay for healthcare. The people who think tax breaks help average income folks come up with the cash to pay for healthcare are not people who have average incomes. McCain’s plan means you are on your own. McCain’s plan means you can choose not to buy any plan, because you are not going to be able to afford it. Having $5,000 available to pay healthcare plans that cost a minimum of $12,000 doesn’t sound too encouraging to healthy people. God forbid that you have any health problems.

Joe Biden's best line so far---McCain's healthcare plan is a bridge to nowhere.

After the debate update: I judged high school policy cross-examination debates for years--often judging novice rounds and junior varsity rounds. This reminded me of having a varsity debater in a round with a junior varsity debater. The varsity debater has to throw out all of their usual high powered argumentation to be fair in the debate. The judge sometimes suspends some of the pickiness, so as to let there be an educational experience for all. The junior varsity debater-Sarah Palin, in my view might win the speaker points--for eye contact-with a minor subtraction for winking.

Joe Biden, on my flow sheet, won the argumentation in the line by line.

Posted by Beverly Choate Dowdy at Thursday, October 02, 2008 0

Friday, September 26, 2008

Observing Oxford

In response to this:

Bev said...
I think your next blog should address the no-debate logic. It's crazy out there.

I say this: Not everyone has a BFF with the same first name! But I do. And I will say this Bev Blair--the no debate brouhaha was drama to distract. About the time his campaign manager's enormous retainer from Freddie Mac hit the fan, it was time to fake a "suspension of the campaign."

A sidebar-every once in awhile I think, maybe Barack should have asked Hillary to be his running mate. I think Bill Clinton's comments this week demonstrate why Barack could not ask her and risk the baggage of Bill lurking around the campaign.

How about the WSJ's online version running an ad claiming victory for McCain before he declared that he would debate after all?

9:17 p.m. Friday, September 26, 2008

McCain and Obama are facing off in the debate in Oxford. The moderator asks the two men to look at each other and talk. They are not looking . I don't think they like each other much.

Jim Leherer is trying again to get them to look at each other, but they won't. Maybe it's because debaters are trained to look at the judges and these folks have been practicing for a long time to NOT look at each other.

10:30 p.m.
I don't think I managed the live blogger thing very well. Maybe I could have twittered.

What I know for sure is: McCain didn't manage to ever look at Obama.

What's up with that?

What does that say about McCain?

Palin makes George W. Bush sound like Cicero

Conservative blogger Rod Dreher's observation on Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric says it well. "Palin makes George W. Bush sound like Cicero."

She needs to withdraw.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

George Will Asserts Temperment Trumps Years in Office

George Will continues his analysis of John McCain's response to the economic crisis in terms of leadership, in particular, temperment. Will is no liberal. Will is not overwhelmed with Obama's resume, but he sees a contrast in temperment as a measure to consider. In today's Washington Post Will asserts, "McCain Loses His Head."

"Conservatives who insist that electing McCain is crucial usually start, and increasingly end, by saying he would make excellent judicial selections. But the more one sees of his impulsive, intensely personal reactions to people and events, the less confidence one has that he would select judges by calm reflection and clear principles, having neither patience nor aptitude for either.

It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama is not ready for the presidency. It is arguable that McCain, because of his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited to the presidency. Unreadiness can be corrected, although perhaps at great cost, by experience. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?"

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Temperment, talking points, and trouble-McCain's very bad week

During Barack Obama’s convention speech he said, "If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next Commander-in-Chief, that's a debate I'm ready to have.”

A look and listen to John McCain this week gives us all insight into his temperament and judgment.

Check out these observations of highly regarded conservative observer, George Will, ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopolis,”

"I suppose the McCain campaign's hope is that when there's a big crisis, people will go for age and experience," said Will. "The question is, who in this crisis looked more presidential, calm and un-flustered? It wasn't John McCain who, as usual, substituting vehemence for coherence, said 'let's fire somebody.' And picked one of the most experienced and conservative people in the administration, Chris Cox, and for no apparent reason... It was un-presidential behavior by a presidential candidate."

"John McCain showed his personality this week," said the writer and pundit, "and made some of us fearful."

Saturday, September 20, 2008

John McPain's Healthcare Solutions

Recently John Goodman, the person purported to be most influential in McCain's healthcare plan suggested that the category of "uninsured" be removed from the census because after all, these folks use the emergency room.

Paul Krugman's column today brings to light an article published for the American Academy of Actuaries by John McCain. Here's the paragraph Krugman highlights:

Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.

It is a dreadful thing what McCain would like to with healthcare because he wants to take away one of the few things that works for middle class people, the tax advantage of paying for healthcare premiums.

It’s not correct to say that healthcare would be provided by the government. Do you know any federal employees? Why not have the structure they have for healthcare? They don’t go to government clinics, believe me.

When the last attempt at a major healthcare reform went down, the critics railed against losing their choices in healthcare to the government. I don’t know about you, but my healthcare choices have limited a great deal since the 1990s by the insurance companies. The Obama plan does not have the government provide healthcare. It makes goverment a visible hand in providing a basic human need--where the invisible hand sometimes fails to deliver.

If there is regulation, at least it should be done by entities designed to work in the public interest.

How about electing an honest, accountable government that understands the concept of public interest?

The government that governs well may be much better than the governement the governs least.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Conservative for Obama

“It gives me comfort just to think that after eight years of George W. Bush we will have a president who has actually read the Federalist Papers.” from "A Conservative for Obama," by Will Allison , Editor of D, and a former publisher of the National Review.

To my bright thoughtful and truly concerned conservative friends, I say give a look to this essay

Barack Obama is not my ideal candidate for president. (In fact, I made the maximum donation to John McCain during the primaries, when there was still hope he might come to his senses.) But I now see that Obama is almost the ideal candidate for this moment in American history. I disagree with him on many issues. But those don’t matter as much as what Obama offers, which is a deeply conservative view of the world. Nobody can read Obama’s books (which, it is worth noting, he wrote himself) or listen to him speak without realizing that this is a thoughtful, pragmatic, and prudent man. It gives me comfort just to think that after eight years of George W. Bush we will have a president who has actually read the Federalist Papers.

Most important, Obama will be a realist. I doubt he will taunt Russia, as McCain has, at the very moment when our national interest requires it as an ally. The crucial distinction in my mind is that, unlike John McCain, I am convinced he will not impulsively take us into another war unless American national interests are directly threatened.
Read more of A Conservative for Obama


Hatred sickens NRO commentator

I find it ironic.
As a liberal among conservatives, I have found hatred of Hillary Clinton irrational. As a liberal Christian among conservative Christians, I have found Hillary Clinton hatred disturbing.

In Jay Nordlinger’s blog “Something about Sarah,” he recounts a sick feeling over the hatefulness of a friend towards Sarah Palin.

Nordlinger, a conservative in New York, says, “And I never, ever bring up politics (with pretty much anyone — not worth the trouble) (and, of course, I do it professionally).”

Over the years I have considered it prudent to avoid political conversations with most people in my day to day activities-work and church-because of the hateful tone that some take.

He considers Sarah Palin hatred sick. I consider Hillary hating* sick.

Strangely, some people think it's rational to hate the person they hate and sick for others to hate those whom they support.

Maybe hatred sickens because it’s sin.

*An example of Hillary hating.
In 1998, a dear friend of mine was awaiting test results for a form of cancer. I sat in the waiting room with her preacher. It seemed the wait for results was taking too many days. It was a holiday weekend. I remarked, "I'll bet if this was Hillary Clinton, they would get the results right away."
"If it was Hillary Clinton," the preacher said, "I wouldn't care."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Like being a yankee--only worse

"Mom, Bev is a yankee."
"Why son, I wouldn't say that about anybody." 1972, when I first visited Huntsville, Alabama.

From Tuesday, September 16, the National Journal Online

As well organized and impressive as the Denver convention was, it's pretty clear that viewers knew little more about Obama on the Friday after the convention than they did on the Monday morning before it began. The ball was not advanced.

The choice of Palin capped the summer of McCain's resurgence, effectively turning the race from change versus the status quo to two competing visions of change, a necessity if McCain is to win.

Conservatives who have never been enthusiastic about McCain might get energized over Palin. Suddenly, McCain was back on top and Republicans had a bit of a spring in their steps.

Someone please explain to me what is meant by this statement “viewers knew little more about Obama.” This expression used by Charlie Cook in the National Journal reminds me of Pat Buchanan’s mantra about Barack Obama this summer—Americans are saying “We don’t know this guy, Barack Obama.”

We don’t know him, so we can’t be expected to support him, right?

Yet Sarah Palin walks on the stage and all of the sudden, we have someone we know?

This is about race.

It is about the other.

It’s like the family who lived in a New England town for 2 generations, but they are still outsiders. It’s about the Yankee or the Westerner who marries a Southerner and decades later is still not quite one of us.

Only worse.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Vote Choate Dowdy

I think I should have run for President.

My friends from way back know of my executive experience beginning with a term as President of the Lincoln Elementary Student Council in 6th Grade.

I am pretty sure the speech I made in 5th grade on November 22, 1963, put me in running. The title was, “Why Totalitarianism is Inferior to Democracy.” It was my first major foreign policy address, given in Miss Worley’s 5th grade.

The papers didn’t cover it, but if they did, they would have noted that I was wearing a green and white checked dress with an emerald rhinestone circle pin.

My fellow students were allowed to ask follow up questions and a discussion ensued about the nature of democracy and communism. Shortly afterwards, we read our Weekly Reader which highlighted the election of the new German Chancellor, Ludwig Erhard.

If the above isn’t enough to show my foreign policy credentials, let me add that I lived less than twenty miles from the Canadian border and remind the reader that the French had settled Detroit in colonial times.

After lunch, on the day of my now famous address, we heard the news that President Kennedy had been assassinated. We worried briefly that the totalitarian Russian Communists might have been behind it.

By the time the next student council presidential election came up, the speech had propelled me on a path to victory.

In my tenure as president, I oversaw a great Lincoln Day Celebration in which I won the essay contest. I was also the emcee of the program. My leadership credentials were honed as I made frequent announcements on the public address system.

Upon arrival at Lincoln Junior High, I began eyeing the presidency of the junior high student council. I researched the path of the sitting president. She had been a 7th grade class representative, served as secretary in 8th grade, and then was elected president in 9th grade. I followed her strategy.

It was a tight race between me, a greaser, and a jock. In my speech, I touted experience as the key to a great student council presidency. My female greaser opponent played a very interesting gender card. I remember she strutted up to the microphone and said in a very sexy voice, “Some people say the student council president should be a guy, but I say ‘hey, what’s wrong with girls?’” This brought howls from the boys on the football team who should have been cheering on their teammate who wore his letter sweater for his speech.

My faculty sponsor said the greaser girl would probably be "going down with troops tonight." I didn't know what she meant, but thought it probably wasn't a very nice thing to say.

The press didn’t report this, but if they had, they would have noted that I wore an orange sleeveless shift with a large yellow and orange metallic sunburst broach.

The dress was classic Aunt Sadie Arbuckle.

I prevailed in a close election and served as student council president in the volatile 67-68 school year.

That year my essay, on the rising tide of Stokely Charmicheal and violence in the civil rights movement, was presented weeks before the assassination of the Martin Luther King, Jr.

Okay, so maybe I didn’t make editor of the Harvard Law Review or have a best seller, but I know for sure that the teachers passed it around the teacher’s lounge.

In 1968, I got my first passport and headed to Europe, hitting Belgium, France, Switzerland, Germany, and England on tour with the Metropolitan Detroit Youth Chorus.

While I was there Joan Baez led an anti-war rally against the US involvement in the Vietnam War interrupting our choir’s activities in Frankfurt Germany.

I would have visited the troops there, but I didn’t want to be seen as too political.

Space will not allow me to list all the achievements of that year, but suffice it to say, I said thanks but not thanks continuing to that expensive trip to Edgewater Amusement Park in spring and replaced it with a field day on campus.

These two terms as a student council president gave me an executive resume, foreign policy panache, and a fire in my bones for politics.

So what happened after this mercurial rise? Well let’s just say that the politics of personal destruction were a bit much for me. I moved to another school and found out that sometimes people can just be real, real, ugly to you and it—well-it just hurt my feelings.

So, I have taken a brief 40 year hiatus from politics, but as I examine the current state of the election, I now say--write me in.

I am ready.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

An American for Barney Smith not Smith Barney

Did you hear Barney Smith?

This is what is all about. We need a government that thinks of working people.
We need an America that is for Barney Smith not just Smith Barney.

I went to Lincoln Elementary School, Lincoln Junior High, and for one semester to Lincoln High School in Warren, Michigan. Our mascot? The "Abes." From the time I was in kindergarten, I loved what Abraham Lincoln stood for-freeing the slaves and saving the union. I loved the Gettysburg address. By third grade, I was ready to ask what I could do my for my country--thrilling at the speeches of President Kennedy.

It wasn't until I heard Barack Obama's 2004 at the Democratic Convention that I was that inspired again.

Tonight, is a big night for America.

Tonight is a big night for the Barney Smiths of America.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Ohio take note--McCain and cronies lobby against you

As McCain passes out tire gauges to mock Obama, his lobbyist laden cadre of advisors hope Ohioans don't gauge the pressure their policies have put on their prosperity. Republicans would offer that workers should just continually be retraining and moving to new parts of the country. Don't bother about government officials about actions they take that send American jobs overseas.

RealClear Politics covers a McCain townhall.

“Government is too big, he wants to grow it. Taxes are to high, he wants to raise them," McCain said. "Congress spends too much and he proposes more. We need more energy and he's against producing it. We're finally winning in Iraq, and he wants to forfeit."

McCain's criticism came before he was to travel to Wilmington to discuss possible job losses, as many as 8,000, from the proposed closure of a DHL shipping site, the result of a corporate merger aided by his campaign manager during his work as a lobbyist.

In 2003, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis lobbied Congress to accept a proposal by German-owned DHL to buy Airborne Express, which kept its domestic hub in Wilmington in southwest Ohio.

In announcing a restructuring plan in May, DHL said it planned to hire United Parcel Service to move some of its air packages, sending them through an airport in Louisville, Ky., and putting the Wilmington Air Park out of business.

Davis took a leave of absence from his lobbying practice to work for McCain, a self-styled reformer who asked his campaign staff to disclose all previous lobbying ties and make certain they were no longer registered as lobbyists or foreign agents.

The economy and job losses are important issues in Ohio, a critical swing state that gave President Bush the electoral votes needed for re-election in 2004.

McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said Wednesday that Davis had not worked with DHL since 2005, long before DHL announced plans to move its work out of Wilmington. The companies merged in 2003.

At the time of the merger, no one anticipated an impact on jobs in Wilmington," Rogers said.

No one? Really?

Ever been around for a merger? Ever known anyone who didn’t know that jobs would be impacted by the merger.

Pay special attention the next part.

McCain, as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, had a role in the deal, too. He urged then-Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens to abandon proposed legislation that would have prohibited foreign-owned carriers from flying U.S. military equipment or troops, which Airborne Express said was aimed at torpedoing its merger with DHL.

Rogers said McCain opposed the bill because it could have hurt the military's airlift capabilities in a time of war.

The DHL-Airborne deal ultimately went through, despite opposition from competitors UPS and FedEx, which argued that it would violate a ban on foreign control of domestic airlines. DHL is the U.S.-based shipping unit of German postal service Deutsche Post AG.

And McCain is going to try to make Obama look like a threat to American jobs?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

If civility and competence bring celebrity--bring it on

Ann said in a comment today

Here's my problem - feel free to laugh if you want:I just don't love either candidate and see faults and problems with both sides. I suppose you could say I'm a concerned apathetic voter. Tell me in simplistic terms why Obama is the best choice...I want to believe! ;-) If McCain uses the internet "once a week,"I'm concerned. If Obama naively steps into Middle East issues, I'm concerned. If we keep going like we are now in America, I'm concerned.

I say, casting Obama as naïve is something his opponents like to say, but it hardly describes the way he approaches foreign policy. Naïve might be applied to the neo-conservatives who said the Iraq War would be a “cakewalk,” that we would be greeted as liberators, and that oil revenues would foot the bill.

Here’s a couple of links with some information that might flesh out your perceptions of him and his approach to foreign policy;

"The Obama Doctrine," The American Prospect, March 2008

“A cast of 300 advises Obama on foreign policy” From The New York Times, July 18, 2008

Obama’s inexperience may concern people, but I think what David Brooks, highly regarded conservative political analys rings true in his New York Times Op-Ed piece, "Calling Dr. Doom," on June 29, 2008,
But Obama is far from a lightweight, as Republicans will learn if he agrees to
do joint town meetings with McCain. McCain’s jabs that Obama is naïve will
backfire. In this climate, a candidate can’t define the other guy, only himself.
When McCain attacks Obama for being naïve, all voters see is McCain being sour
and negative.

More fundamentally, McCain’s problem is that his party is unfit to govern. As research from the Republican pollster David Winston has shown, any policy becomes less popular when people learn that Republicans are supporting it. If the G.O.P. sponsored the sunrise, voters would prefer gloom. Many Republicans are under the illusion that they are in trouble because they’ve betrayed their core principles. The sad truth is that if they’d been more conservative, they’d be even further behind.

Of course, Obama chose not to meet the McCain demand to follow him around to do townhalls, but the point is the same—the GOP has shown it is not fit to govern.

Obama will bring a team in that will look at government as a servant to civil society.

Look at what the Republicans have wrought under their watch in the EPA, the Justice Department, the CDC, the FDA, FEMA, just for starters. Obama, or whatever Democratic nominee they would have chosen will be better than allowing another Republican administration.
I am ready for change. What has convinced me is reading Obama’s books, listening to his speeches, and reading about his actual policy positions.

Read about his campaign and the way he runs it. Sounds like a leader to me.

I’ll write more when I have more time, but this is a start.

It's civility; it's competence. If these two bring celebrity--so be it!

Who's dealing?
Who gives currency to the "Obama played the race card" with the comment about a face on the dollar bill?

Progressive fun
Least I fall prey to the accusation of being a humorless liberal, I would like to note that my current favorite commercial is the one for Progressive Insurance where the fellow buys RV, motorcyle, and boat insurance much to his wife's "SURPRISE." I see it everyday and everyday, it leaves me laughing.

Furthermore, I want to put MSNBC on notice that if they broadcast the commercial about catheters one more time, I will not watch another minute of their news programming. So there.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Heaven forbid labor gets a new foothold

WalMart warns employees that if the Democrats win it may be easier for unions to organize and we all know how bad a union would for the largest group of employees in America.

Of all the things that has bothered me most over the past many years of Republican dominated government is the climate in which labor is treated as a liability. Employees of WalMart and other workers need to realize that the leadership of this country has created a tax climate in which the industrialization of America has gone to China, India, Mexico and other places. There is no commitment on the part of this genre of leadership that truly is concerned about the American worker. Contempt for unions and for working people is standard.

Not long ago I was in the home of a political conservative. At the dinner table he said it's too bad that the unions drove all of the good jobs overseas. Is it really the unions?

He said it's too bad the unions in America have ruined the US auto industry. Really? The unions?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Contextual, Pragmatic, Presumptuous? Presidential

Today’s New York Times piece, “Teaching Law, Testing Ideas, Obama Stood Apart” pieces together a narrative of his time at the University of Chicago School of Law.

But the liberal students did not necessarily find reassurance. “For people who thought they were getting a doctrinal, rah-rah experience, it wasn’t that kind of class,” said D. Daniel Sokol, a former student who now teaches law at the University of Florida at Gainesville. For one thing, Mr. Obama’s courses chronicled the failure of liberal policies and court-led efforts at social change: the Reconstruction-era amendments that were rendered meaningless by a century of resistance, the way the triumph of Brown gave way to fights over busing, the voting rights laws that crowded blacks into as few districts as possible. He was wary of noble theories, students say; instead, they call Mr. Obama a contextualist, willing to look past legal niceties to get results.

After so many years of a partisan leadership so bent on its own ideology that it eviscerates the civil service of our country, leads us to pre-emptive war costing trillions of dollars, damages our leadership in the world by using torture, and wreaks havoc on our economy by empowering a reckless banking system, I am in the tank for a candidate willing to use erudition to pull together policy.

Just as he sees the nuances of the racial issues and the limit of government to address such, he sees healthcare for what it is—a social, ethical, and economic problem needing sweeping reform to make it work for all people and all businesses—large and small.
Imagine, the leader of the free world—curious, intellectual, and in pursuit of racial, social, and economic justice.

Bev Dowdy—in the tank.

McCain inexplicable and despicable

In response to the McCain attacks of the last few days---please tell me American voters, will not fall for the unsubstantiated accusations regarding the visit to the soldiers in Germany.

Noah Oppenheimer, co-author of the Intellectual Devotional and television producer, in weaving how this plays into political strategy said, "the facts don't matter in this." He explained that it's just a good thing to put into the anti-Obama narrative.

The facts don't matter?

I have many friends who support McCain. My friends, does this interpretation apply--the facts don't matter--just get a story to use against Obama.?

If the facts don't matter, it is explicable and despicable.

Presumptous presumptive Obama?

I take issue with Dana Millbanks characterization of Obama's presumptiousness. So Obama has a transition team--does McCain? Don't most candidates appoint teams to prepare them to win? What if he were to win and then have a chaotic transition as did Bill Clinton?

Is it arrogance to say to folks that you want to support you by donating enormous sums of money to your campaign that the odds are in your favor to win—but it will be difficult?

Let’s make a football analogy. Wouldn’t any good coach make a remark like that the booster club?

Nonetheless, there's a fine line here to walk, Barack.

Bev in the tank

On our trip to Michigan this summer, our school aged cousin came up with a charades type guessing game. Can you guess what I am? Yes, in the tank for Obama. It is time to get back to work and think about something beside the election.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Brooks Channels Niebuhr?

David Brooks assessment of Obama's Berlin speech included these two statements:
Last year, he spoke about his affinity for Reinhold Niebuhr, and their shared awareness that history is tragic and ironic and every political choice is tainted in some way.

His Berlin Victory Column treacle would have made Niebuhr sick to his stomach.

I am disappointed in the David Brooks column.

Do you, Christian scholars, students of Niebuhr, agree with Brooks?

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Of scholarship and sloth

I am not a scholar, but I went to the Christian scholars conference anyway.

"The Christian Faith, Life of the Mind, and the Public Square," theme for 2008 Christian Scholars Conference hosted by David Lipscomb University, started with a discussion of Richard T. Hughes's premise in How Christian Faith Can Sustain the Life of the Mind. Asserting that Christians can be engaged in a vital “life of the mind,” if they learn to think theologically and beyond the particulcarities of their own traditions, Hughes and his panel grappled with the idea of understanding our own “finitude” while exploring truth.

Senator Bill Frist spoke on his faith and politics.

Among the luminaries presenting were Christian progressives, Shaun Casey, a Visiting Fellow at the Center for American Progress and Associate Professor of Christian Ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, and Jim Wallis, the founder and editor of Sojourners magazine.

I enjoyed hearing a presentations by Candice Ortbals-Wiser from Pepperdine and Angela Bratton, Augusta State University on gender issues. It was fun seeing James Wiser too!

Hearing the progressives almost prompted a Michelle Obamaesque remark from me, like—for the first time in my adult life I am proud to be a Campbellite. I am glad I refrained. What I was clearly thinking about was that I’m proud of how Church of Christ people engaged in political discussion at the conference.

I have been very blessed in many of my experiences in the movement; yet, it has not been too much fun to be a political progressive at church since I have been a grown up.

Christopher Dowdy, PhD student in Christians Ethics at Southern Methodist University, and my firstborn child, was on a panel with Dr. Fred Aquino, his mentor from ACU, and Mark Wieber, his dear friend and PhD student in Theology at SMU. The trio presented papers on "regulative epistomology." Chris's presentation involved unpacking the theology of Reinhold Niebuhr.

I listened hard with my layperson's ear and heard that not only does it matter how we justify our beliefs, it matters what we are and what we do in response to those beliefs.

When it comes to politics, justice requires risking action with unforeseen, possibly unwanted consequences. One must approach situations with concurrent courage and humility. Courage, Neibuhr asserts, is firmness, confidence in belief, which in excess can become pride. Its counterpart, humility, a willingness to change for good reason, in excess may become sloth.

Chris spoke of Martin Luther King, Jr. in illustrating a risk taker combining both courage and humility.

I pondered King's fearless resistance to segregation, poverty, and to the Vietnam war.

This lead me to some self-inventory.

An unabashed young liberal, I often ventured my beliefs. By the mid-1970s I had been asked more than once how I could possibly be a Christian and be for the Equal Rights Amendment, be pro-labor union, be a Democrat, or vote for Jimmy Carter. By the nineties, it seemed to me important not to be called a Democrat, thanks primarily to the climate in which the Republican Party was the righteous party and Democrats were, in Anne Coulter’s words, Godless.

I made it a practice to refrain from discussing politics in most social settings, especially with fellow church members. As a high school teacher of politics, I taught that political parties were about winning elections in order to govern. I taught with certainty that no political party represented Christ. I did not espouse my own views or votes on many subjects, though was sure I could make cogent arguments for my positions.

I always held out the possibility that I could be wrong.

In particular, I did not speak my objections in the run up to the war in Iraq. In this case, I was afraid of the criticism I would receive from the Christians who associated the Republicans and Bush with Christianity. In retrospect, it seems shocking that opposing war would be called partisan and sad that I did not take a stand on my view or at least give clear voice to the view of scores of Christian leaders who spoke out against the invasion of Iraq as an unjustified war.

I justified myself because I was a teacher and could argue that teachers should be objective, but really, I was so afraid I might be wrong, I did not even own a strong argument.

The Christian Scholars Conference and my self-inventory left me with two conclusions.

I am not a scholar.

I may actually be a sloth.

I justify reticence on speaking out about issues as a kind of Niebuhrian humility---a tipping of my hat to my own "finitude"-- when in reality, it is sometimes fear. I may be wrong; the others may be right, I say to myself--so why discuss differences?

I used to tell my students that is possible for a whole community of religious people to be wrong about a social issue.

Sometimes there should be a debate.

Engaging requires courage and humility.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dobson's Dubious Posturing

Today's address by James Dobson cynically strikes at Obama. Since Dr. Dobson says he cannot support McCain he can't. So, his way of keeping his word, but still hoping to help McCain is by attacking Obama. If you haven't already done so, check out website created in response to Dobson's diatribe.

The AP reported today that a "The Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, a Methodist pastor from Texas and longtime supporter of President Bush who has endorsed Obama, said Tuesday he belongs to a group of religious leaders who, working independently of Obama's campaign, launched a Web site to counter Dobson at http://www.jamesdobsondoesntspeakforme.com. The site highlights statements from Obama and Dobson and asks visitors to compare them."

James Dobson doesn't speak for me either.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Outraising and outthinking

A couple of campaign questions

I realize that she is making the argument that in spite of being outspent, she has racked up many votes in states where she has campaigned relentlessly. What I am curious about is why does Hillary Clinton perpetually sound like she accusing Barack Obama of outspending them? Didn’t he raise the money from an amazing broad base of donors? She never says, my opponent has outspent me because he has outraised me.

Today’s New York Post ran an accusatory article, “Obama to A'jad: Atomic Assist; Stiffs UN in Nuke Negotiations.”

"Talking without preconditions" would require America to ignore three unanimous Security Council resolutions. Before starting his unconditional talks, would Obama present a new resolution at the Security Council to cancel the three that Ahmadinejad doesn't like? Or would the new US president act in defiance of the United Nations - further weakening the Security Council's authority?”

My question is, would this same writer have been a supporter of Bush’s invasion of Iraq? Since when did the supporters of the invasion become so concerned about the authority of the UN? Isn’t talking in the face of UN Security Council resistance a bit better than invading a country in a preemptive strike without direct talks?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hope rising, whispering, screaming

"When it seems that hopefulness is the least appropriate response in this situation, let it rise up even more. Whisper your hope when you lie down at night; scream your hope when you wake in the morning. Live your hope as if it is the one and only thing that sustains you in this ravaged world. You will not be disappointed."
Words of the late Mark Palmer -lifted from Kevin Rain's blog, The Kedge.

My sister Kim told me that our cousin Jody Nixon's husband, David, had a new blog, Sustainable Faith. I thought, I could use some of that. If you think you do, check it out. David and his long time associate in ministry, Kevin Rains, facilitate spiritual renewal and formational experiences for pastors and others.

David and Kevin work in Norwood, Ohio at Vineyard Central, a community of home churches.

Cousin Jody and David live on the third floor of the "the whitehouse" at Vineyard Central, a very cool convent meets Ikea retreat house.

We adore Jody and David Nixon and admire the life and family they have built. We see them possessing a sustained faith and offering hope--hope rising, whispering, screaming through the vicissitudes of life.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Historic, Heroic, Healing

He did it.
Barack Obama today gave one of the greatest speeches of our time.
He did what leaders need to do.

Speak truth about race without rancor.

He drew a big picture and put us all in it. He told a big story and made us part of the plot.

He transcended the black rhetoric that has emerged in the last couple of election cycles that makes it sound as if NO real progress has been in race relations.

He gave legitimacy to white frustrations with some affirmative action programs and entitlements.

Yet he stood by the reality that problems in the black community remain as a legacy of slavery and segregation.

He exposed societal ills but balanced them with his oft repeated theme for embracing personal responsibility.

He acknowledged publically what happens privately. People speak differently about race when with folks of their own race.

He asked us to relate to the reality that there are people in our lives whom we love deeply, but whose beliefs and expressions of beliefs we must reject.

He stated clearly that we have a choice about how we deal with race in the presidential race--and as the human race.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Speak, Barack, Speak

I don’t often get weepy listening to political commentary. Actually, I haven’t cried watching TV or a movie since Dances with Wolves. Imagine my shock when I began to weep this morning when my husband played a segment of “Morning Joe” talking with noted conservative and Wall Street Journal columnist, Peggy Noonan.

Discussing the tone of civil conversation and the depths to which it has fallen, Noonan cast a vision. If Obama can maintain his demeanor, there stands the possibility for a new day in civil discourse.

Noonan’s remarks are reminiscent of the David Brooks New York Times column last spring,
“Run, Barack, Run” in which Brooks asserted, “The next Democratic nominee should either be Barack Obama or should have the stature that would come from defeating Barack Obama.” Brooks continued, “This style is surely the antidote to the politics of the past several years.”

Noonan said she thinks the manner of our public conversation came about during the Vietnam War and took deep root during the busing and abortion clashes of the 70s. I agree. I would add, the arrival of the 80s, the end of the fairness doctrine and the emergence of talk radio cemented divisive, mean-spirited, small political talk. Thus, the span of my adult life.

Noonan sees the rhetoric of the Republicans and the Democrats on par with the "Jets and the Sharks. Both sides killing each other, not to make things better, but to gain power."

Can't we all rise above the swiftboating, above the lapel pin harangue?

Admit it--no grown up believes that discourse alone will keep us secure, prosperous, and just.

Yet, on the way to security, prosperity, and justice-keep your cool, Barack Obama.
Stay above the fray. Fight the real battles. Parry the silly.

Keep raising the level of discourse.

Make a path for peace.

I've been waiting for this for a long, long time.

"The wisdom that comes from God is first utterly pure, then peace-loving, gentle, approachable, full of tolerant thoughts and kindly actions, with no breath of favouritism or hint of hypocrisy. And the wise are peace-makers who go on quietly sowing for a harvest of righteousness - in other people and in themselves." James 3:17-18

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Dad in Dakar-Mom at Meadowcreek

In case there might be a single soul lurking about this blog, here's an update on the Dowdys. Ken will land in Dakar, Senegal about the time I get up to head for Meadowcreek High School in Norcross, Georgia.

By the time I am in second period he will be in Johannesburg, South Africa. As a Church Advisor for World Vision, he accompanies church leaders on this Pastor's Vision Trip. In the next next few days they will visit villages in Swaziland where World Vision's website reports WV "currently has more than 12 projects in the country including ones that focus on child development, agricultural improvement, clean water, food aid, microenterprise development, and HIV/AIDS prevention and care."

He took the photo above on his trip in August to Malawi. The girl in the purple skirt carries her sister on her back. Their mother had died from AIDS weeks earlier.

Someone asked how I felt about Ken being gone for so long on these trips.

I wish I was with him, but I am so happy for him to able to participate in a work so close to the heart of God.

His travels are exotic, but then, so are mine. When I wind my way into halls of Meadowcreek, I meet students from Mexico, Honduras, Ghana, Egypt, Ghana, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Bosnia, Eritrea, Ethiopia and middle Georgia. He sometimes wishes he was with me.