September 7, 2008

Political Angst

Posted in Current Events at 2:25 pm by jimazing

ostrich-sign.gifI am truly dismayed by the whole political process.  So many people I love are doggedly on one side of the political spectrum or the other.  I am not.  I want to hear the real issues and solutions, but they are buried so deeply that I cannot hear them or trust them and it cuts both ways.  As long as I can remember, my solution has been to avoid politics altogether.  Like the proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand, I have chosen to ignore all the rhetoric and all the news.  Today, I ventured out and read some of the political articles in the newspaper.  Yikes!  There seem to be three varieties of articles:

  1. Promises from each side saying that they have the answers that will save this country (or continue to keep it safe).
  2. Attacks on the “other side” saying that they are lying or deluded.  Their way won’t work, or their record shows that they don’t mean what they say or… The underlying message is that you’d be stupid to vote for them.
  3. Exposure of the untruths in the promises and attacks from previous days whether unfounded promises, out-and-out lies or comments one side has taken out of context against the other side.

Of the three, the last category is the most believable, but not very helpful in reaching a decision.  These “He/she said… but this is what the record shows…” articles merely add to my skepticism. Clearly the goal of each side is to get into the White House.  Whatever it takes seems to be the rule.  I wish I knew better how to project the future of one side’s getting in over the other.

Before I put my head back in the sand, dear readers, please tell me how you cope with the difficulty of getting to the heart of the matter.  Do you have a single issue burning in you that overshadows everything else?  Do you know how grandma would have voted and make sure you don’t stir up her wrath? Do you have friends or family who tell you what to think?  Do you have a way of cutting through the crap to get to the heart of the real issues facing our country and our world today?  I especially hope to hear from those who answer yes to the last question.


  1. Jeanie said,

    I want real answers as well. I don’t really know who to vote for either. I don’t trust the process anymore of selecting our presidential candidates.

  2. mjh said,

    I’m sorry to say, but I do not think that there is any real hope for the political process. I would recommend a book called “The Myth of The Rational Voter” to explain why. If you’d rather listen to a good podcast with the author, try here.

    Here is an article by the same author that explains why there’s really no substantive difference between the democrats and the republicans.

    Finally, here is my take on the matter.

  3. Curtis said,

    Hey Jim–I like your authenticity about wrestling with these questions–and I wrestle with them too–and as you said–trying to get to the heart of the matter. To me that is the key–how is that defined? I think that is a moving target the politician try to figure out and use–what IS important to the voters? What IS their hotbutton that I can push. In this election–Obama seems to think it is hope for change–McCain seems to think it is experience. But it is important for me to cut through the crap to know what my filter is–and it comes down to the guy who comes closest to what I feel in my heart is the purpose of government: to provide a secure country where individuals can live in freedom to be all God made them to be in the context of healthy local governments. So I haven’t ever really felt like I was voting for a person who had my interests 100% at heart, but I vote for the one who holds the values nearest mine (faith, love, wisdom and authenticity) and demonstrates that through their record (not just their rhetoric) exercising their decision-making in those bounds towards what I feel is the healthiest role of government (see above). Would love to interact further–through this blog and in person–it’s an honor to journey with you, Jim!

  4. Hi Nephew/Brother,
    I agree with Curt. I am thankful for your effort at honest wrestling with ideas. Truly it is our privilege in this country to vote frequently for our leaders. If they don’t get it right, we can always take a shot at someone else.
    However, my voting is dictated primarily by 2-3 areas: (1)the platforms upon which the Party stands. I check to see if they are standing for what I believe to be the best in economical, theological, philosophical, and ethical thought?(2) How well does the chosen candidate adhere to the ‘stance’ of the party or how firmly does he/she stand on issues I consider to be ‘deal-breakers’? (3) What is the will of God?
    For me I find that debates and conventions, fireworks and speeches are only glitter and glitz, and onl a little help in making my decision, especially debates. In a debate its all about who performs the best, or who can impress the most with rhetoric. I usually have already made my decision based upon the stance of the candidate. Sometimes, it is the lesser of two ‘not so goods’,where I make my choice. One of the main choices is do we want more government control over us or less; more secure borders or less? Do we want Judges, who make up decisions according to whims of culture or do we want Judges, who adjudicate according to the Constitution as written by our forefathers? Do we want Judges, who, before making decisions, check to see how the French or the Germans do it, or do we want them to make decisions based upon our Judeo-Christian ethic and our own Constitution?
    A big deal-breaker with me is where they stand on LIFE. The decisions are tough, but must be made according to a stance of Faith-Life. I believe Political Correctness is of no use to the Christian who must respond according to Christian Ethics, Biblically based. This is not to say we are not to be loving, caring,tolerant people,because we are to be the most loving, caring,and tolerant but ‘tolerance’ does not mean I give up my principles at the door. There are definite ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’, based upon the word of God. Sometimes I must kindly and firmly disagree. Others do not have to agree with me, but neither should they require that I accept there thought to be as valuable as mine.
    There are Christians on both sides of the aisle, but for me, the conservative platform fits more closely with where my thoughts and philosophies are.

    The elections in the last several years have been for the survival of a culture. Our culture is rapidly changing, and not for the best. We, who strongly believe in the message of the gospel, must stand for those beliefs. If not, our culture and country are definitely at risk.
    And so…you have my treatise…I love you.
    Uncle/Brother (UB)

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