This particular presidential election has made me feel like Moses Rose's first cousin. Obviously it got me motivated to start this blog, to try to express (or should I say vent) my thoughts, but it goes beyond simply being anxious; Barack Obama scares the hell out of me.
I've never been a huge McCain fan, and frankly, I doubt that I would have been so worked up about it if the Democrats had nominated Hillary or John Edwards. If I'm honest enough to admit that, then it must be Obama that scares me.
There are two primary causes of my concern. The first is, I simply do not understand why his supporters are so enthusiastic. It's not simple admiration or logic or even partisanship, it's like he holds them in thrall and they are incapable of reason or critical objectivity. When I can't understand something or even imagine the perspective it comes from, that scares me.
Secondly, people like Obama who reach beyond duty, service and the operational execution of their responsibilities by invoking spirituality are scary. Typically they want to merge the spiritual with the practical, faith with reason and emotion to duty not because they truly believe it's "the right thing to do" or "God's plan", but because it gives them power. He has said point blank that he wants to "fundamentally change" America, and it's accepted without question as a good thing. He has said he wants to "change the world". By what power? He has said he wants to create a "civilian national security force." Say WHAT? What if Cheney had proposed that? What's amazing is the same people who rail against religion in America and oppressive faith based Muslim regimes are willing to assign him the role of de-facto spiritual leader. That is scary.
Some may say, "you're over reacting" or "it's not as bad as you say it is" and I certainly hope it's not, but the early voting numbers support my concern. I believe that people are either in love with Obama, or they fear Obama, and that is driving the turnout. I hope they fear him.
As I stated earlier, I don't understand the enthusiasm for this man. He has done nothing of consequence, and somehow that is a virtue. The greatest argument he makes for himself is that he is not George W. Bush, but doesn't that apply to nearly everyone, including his opponent? Even if you do not consider his specific ideology he's shown no particular skill in economics, foreign policy, national security or even holding a job! As for character we only know two things about him ... what character he says he has, and what character he has demonstrated ... but unfortunately, the main tool for discovering his demonstrated character, the press, has decided to take him at his word on character issues.
I've talked to a few Obama supporters, to try to help me understand their enthusiasm. Here's a synthesis of some reasons I've been given.
Have you read his books? He's so intelligent. They are beautifully written and if you've read them then you do know him. He's an articulate, spiritual person who really knows and trusts himself. He's not the typical politician. He's different.
Yes, I've read his books, and sorry, I wasn't impressed. He comes across as more confused than convicted. If he's such a gifted writer, why didn't he publish anything for the Harvard Law Review when he was editor? Is he articulate? We don't know because we have not seem him under pressure, and we have not seen him outside of a controlled environment. And spiritual?Oh please, give me a break. You do not attend a church for 20 years, describe its pastor as a spiritual mentor, and then suddenly discard and discount all of that for political purposes. But they are right about the 'not typical' part; he's an extraordinary politician ... dangerously extraordinary ... who has gone from being unknown to being the leading presidential candidate in what, four years? He's either a political savant, or fulfilling destiny.
Look, the time is right. We need change. He knows what's wrong with America. He was against a war that no one wanted, and he's the polar opposite of those in power now, who don't see how bad things are. We must shake up 'politics as usual'. He's our symbol. He's opposed to Republicans and he's legitimately defeated the old guard Democrats. How can that not be destiny?
We need change? No, we need to improve, but we don't need to change for change sake. And the war? He should get zero credit for his stance because HE WAS A STATE SENATOR AT THE TIME WITH NO STAKE IN THE GAME! Hell, we are ALL against war when we've got no responsibility. I can't believe how easily the Democrat party voters were manipulated on that topic. Doesn't it really just prove that we don't like ourselves very much and that we (meaning all the generations before us) have been on the wrong path? Do we really know better than our fore-fathers? Is it really time to tear that down? And he is no symbol. He is an opportunistic politician who has wrested racism from the social conscience and used it to promote himself. Review his political career and tactics and tell me what part of 'politics as usual' he has not exploited for his own political gain?
Electing Obama will prove to ourselves and the world that we are not a racist society, and that we want to become an equal partner in the world community. Obama as president tangibly demonstrates our concern for being part of that community and he will restore our international reputation.
No, it won't. Our friends will remain our friends and the people who want to kill us and see America brought to its knees will still feel the same way. As an added bonus, they may want to exploit our new found sensitivity. Face it, the world needs a strong America. You may not want to live up to the responsibility, but are you willing to abdicate that responsibility to Russia? to China? to a Muslim empire?
He cares about the middle class. His policies all reflect his concern for them. He understands that sometimes people need help. He's for healthcare and jobs and environmental goodness. He's in touch with what the common people need.
The only reason he invokes the middle class so frequently is that he needs their votes. He'd like to see them controlled by labor unions, whether they are labor or management. He'd like to control a big piece of your personal life by taking healthcare choices away. He's not interested in lifting up the middle class, he wants to keep them down by taking away incentives and creating a 'limited good' society. It does not take a scholar to see that the creation of Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid has actually taken away our freedom of choice since you cannot even discuss altering those programs without risking political suicide. Obama wants to create more of those programs. We, the generations after FDR, are paying the price for the failure of Social Security. Do you want to saddle your children and grandchildren with the debt that further programs will require? How selfish is that, and how does that help the middle class? I suppose it does help to keep them in their place.
Frankly, I can find no logical reason to support Obama. None of his social, foreign relation or economic policies make much sense, unless of course you want to see America become yet another weak, socialist country with no sense of purpose. And his intangible leadership skills are suspect because the only thing he has excelled at is promoting himself. I've already admitted that reasonable, objective criticism cannot be expected ( and probably won't be tolerated if he's elected ) and so any logical reasons against Obama will have no meaning to his supporters.
I could argue for a long time, and others more effectively than me, about how experience, character, political tactics, radical ideology, judgement, anti-semitism, corruption, culpability in the housing crisis, racism, promoting class envy, the moving definition of "rich", socialism, the importance of past associations, black liberation theology, missing pieces of the biography, fraudulent fundraising and the divine inspiration of memoirs would, for any normal candidate, create the scenario for a monumental defeat. But those have no meaning in this debate. Obama is, apparently, above it all. Every reasonable question is off limits with this guy.
When reason does not apply, only faith can provide an answer.
This morning I attended church. Pastor Harry's sermon was, as usual, well prepared and delivered. The subject was 'risk taking mission', how we should step out from our comfort zone and reach out to those outside of our church family. To look for opportunities to show love and compassion and caring to others that we may not have considered before.
Of course, I had brought my election anxiety with me and it was easy to see the power in the desire to 'change the world', to make it a better place, to promote love and compassion and understanding. Is that what Obama is tapping into? Is he helping us to be better people? Is that his plan to change the world, by having us be better individuals, asking us to give more? Is that the source of his supporters fervent belief? Do they believe he will help them be better people and America a better country?
A beautiful thought, but scary. I don't believe that Obama can make us be better people, and in fact, I would strongly argue that his ideology would do the exact opposite. It would turn us inward and make us think in terms of what we are entitled to instead of what we can strive for. I don't know if he's arrogant enough to believe that he, individually, can make that sort of difference in the world, but I have no doubt that he believes the power of the American economy and the spirit of the American people can change the world.
The problem is, we are already doing that, and "fundamental change" is only required if we agree that we need to change America to meet his vision. God gave us free will, and when we choose to change the world, to make it a better place, from within our own personal, individual desire, that is powerful. When you do those things at the direction, or coercion, of another, instead of from a personal commitment, you have given up control of your spiritual life.
It doesn't get scarier than that.