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.