It's my personal belief that Christians should keep a safe distance from politics. Ultimately, we just end up throwing our hat on a human endeavor, and the audacity of hoping in a presidential candidate will always finally fail. There are those who disagree, but I think, ideally, I sit in the Jacques Ellul camp on this one: the biggest changes we can make are individual. Whether it's welfare or abortion, the legislation of morality falls far short of actually changing individual hearts.
That said, the 2008 Presidential race is thrilling.
There's so much on the line for the United States: the shifting economic landscape (China, Brazil and India), an unpopular war (Iraq), an impending return to the Cold War (at least I hope it's cold), a floundering economy and an energy crisis. There's also the escalating drug war in Mexican border towns, where more people have been killed since 2001 than US servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
And, all else aside, the two candidates are likable. Well...likable to the vast majority of this country who call themselves moderates.
Keeping in mind I'm not nearly as well-versed in politics as some of my esteemed colleagues here, I had a few thoughts recently:
- Watching Obama and McCain maneuver for votes, reflecting where they think the election can be won, has been fascinating. McCain has always been popular with moderate Republicans and Independents, but the stands he's taking seem more focused on shoring up the Republican base. With the exception of die-hard Conservatives, it appears to be working. James Dobson, for instance, said this in February. And while it's not an obvious turnaround, John Pattison's post yesterday seems to indicate Focus Action is at least considering throwing their hat behind the Republican Senator from Arizona.
- Both campaigns seem content to wait for the other to slip up, which seems a more dangerous game to play for Barack Obama. I never thought I'd say this, but I miss James Carville...at least he had cojones. Speaking of Carville, I strongly urge you to rent the documentary The War Room, a blisteringly entertaining view of Carville and George Stephanopolous's brilliant work in the 1992 Presidential campaign.
- It's hard to imagine a group looking more idiotic than Hillary Clinton's diehard supporters. What's that? You're going to vote for McCain? Out of SPITE? Hillary Clinton went to such lengths in the Democratic primaries to distance herself from her reputation as cold and manipulative, and these morons are screwing it all up. Some still hold out hope that Clinton will miraculously win the nomination. Some want Obama to lose because it will mean another shot for Clinton in 4 years.
Listen, Clinton supporters, you stupid jackasses...I'm already suspect of your judgment because you've somehow fallen under the spell of that irrepressible and dynamic charisma Hillary Clinton exudes. But there is too much on the line (all the things I listed above) to waste 4 years because of your personal grudges. If John McCain is the better candidate in your eyes, then vote for him to your heart's content. But please, for pete's sake, vote on your beliefs...not because Hillary Clinton seems more like you. Glassbooth.org will help. Or, if you still feel oh-so-angry at Barack Obama for winning the primary fair and square, then don't vote at all.
UPDATE: John McCain has picked his running mate, and it's brilliant. He's undermining the minority aspect of Obama's campaign by going after all those angry Hillary-ites. Plus, based on Sarah Palin's wikipedia page, there's very little not to like about her. She was in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, has a son with down syndrome, and was named Miss Congeniality at some point for somethingorother. Also, she's supposedly very independent of Big Oil. I'm going to call bullshit on that, since her husband works for BP, and she's a Republican in Alaska. Have you failed me, Wikipedia? Still, she's likable.
Fantastic timing, too...right after the DNC. If this race is being won on Vice President-Picking, I think we'd probably have to give the edge to McCain right now. The Obama campaign team better realize this election isn't being handed to them.