[Rough Draft]

A weblog about god, doubt, insomnia, culture, baseball


dnc @ the half

i don't guess my political leanings fail to come out in my writing now and then, so i also don't guess that a reader of [rd] for the past few months would fail to notice that i empathize deeply w/ the message of the democratic party. i do so not w/o ambivalence. this past weekend, i sat w/ friends on a porch in arkansas, ringed in smoke and sharing a few drinks, and we discussed (read: argued about, lovingly, of course) religion and politics and quite a few subjects in b/tw. i wasn't the most liberal person in the circle, nor was i the most conservative, whatever power those labels still have to suggest the true heart of one's politics. and my mind was changed on some things; my convictions became more firm about others. i've intended to vote for the democratic party's nominee for quite a while now, not out of anger but hope. nevertheless, one guy in the circle, whom i love (although i'd never say that to his face, mind you, or he'd likely punch me in mine), passionately explained why he could not conscientiously vote for a democratic candidate b/c of that party's platform plank endorsing abortion. to say that in our circle took some stones, and i'm so proud of him for his mind and his heart.

a few years ago, i supported a woman's right to an abortion, but painfully and over quite a long time i have @ last become staunchly pro-life, which means that now i'd insist on driving a friend or a parishioner to an abortion clinic and back if she insisted on ending her pregnancy, but only after i had offered her what limited counsel i could and prayed with and for her and pleaded for any other course of action. i no longer support abortion, not b/c i know when life begins, but b/c i don't know when it begins, and in all our most emotionally charged decisions regarding life and death i believe our humanity demands that we err on the side of life. that means i do not support capital punishment, no matter the circumstances; i do not endorse euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide or any other practice that usurps from the infinite and shoves into our finite minds and hands the means and opportunity to end human life life.

i also oppose the war in iraq, so much so that i used to get fired up by the likes of dean and kucinic. i oppose governmental policies that hemorrhage money for pork or war or tax cuts when so many in our country and the world are out of work and low on food. so, where does that put me? in a crisis, that's where it puts me. there are despicable personages on the fringes of both parties, and despite the ones on the far left in mine, i desperately want to vote for kerry and edwards b/c i don't think that our country is working as efficiently, as justly, as mercifully as we should be, especially in light of all that we have been given and all the might that we have worked to create for ourselves.

and, so, i intend to watch as much coverage of both conventions as i can find (t.g.i. pbs, btw), which put me in front of the tv tonight longing to hear something inspiring, someone honest and forthright enough not to gloss over our problems but acknowledge them w/ gravitas and conviction and the charisma of a real leader who promises (and means it) that we have to do this together. i don't know what will happen and who will show up thursday in boston or a month from now in new york, but i think i've said before that i'm a man in search of heroes to follow. i want my own kennedy, and i think that's why i was emotionally attached to ronald reagan as a kid in high school, why clinton broke my heart again and again, and why i'm glad bravo runs repeats of old west wing eps almost every night (i swear i'd vote for jed bartlet if he was a real person, so help me). and that's why the speech of the dnc so far has been tonight's from illinois state senator and u.s. senate candidate barack obama. just read part of the transcript of his keynote address:
in the end, that's what this election is about. do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope? john kerry calls on us to hope. john edwards calls on us to hope. i'm not talking about blind optimism here -- the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don't talk about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. no, i'm talking about something more substantial. it's the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the mekong delta; the hope of a mill worker's son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that america has a place for him, too. the audacity of hope!
obama's not even a u.s. senator (yet), and he may not have the dazzling career the pundits predict after tonight's electifying speech, but that's a guy i'll follow and a message i'll sacrifice for. i feel like josh coming back dripping wet from new hampshire to tell sam he found "the real thing" in nashua. if you want something positive, a message of sacrifice and unity and common allegiance and "audacious" hope, i urge you to take 20 minutes and listen to the speech online. as young as obama is, and as seasoned as kerry is, kerry's no obama rhetoric-wise; and obama may never get to where kerry will stand on thursday, even though i hope he does b/c we should have national leaders who were editors of the harvard law review but eschewed big litigation bucks for a life in public service; but i pray that someone from any party will take obama's cues and lead those of us just waiting to be inspired. one helluva speech, i'll tell you that. wish i could've preached it.


  • At 1:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As a fellow West Wing lover...especially those re-runs on Bravo, I truly understand your love for voting for the emotional side of politics. I would encourage you though from my experience as a federal employee to truly analyze the best method to making the country (even the world) a better place prior to casting your vote. Both parties are out to make the country better for everyone but where they truly disagree is in the actualy techniques used to achieve that goal. I can tell you from personal experience that if you think the government can be successful at achieving anything outside of free enterprise then you might as well just take your cash and burn it. Now don't get me wrong I passionately share Tobey Z's dream to say that government ought to be a place where dreams come true but that is simply not reality in this world or any other before us. The best way for hope to enter into the hearts of each and every human in this country or any other is through freedom and competitive markets...not via government action fueled by tax dollars. Don't take my word for it though I urge you to research the how hope is truly instilled into every day life across the world rather than just preach that it should be!


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