Pondering…

November 5, 2008 § 30 Comments

So, I’m still trying to figure out why my middle of the night reaction in my previous post was so visceral. After all, I had for a long time accepted (so I thought) the fact that Obama was going to carry this election, and it wasn’t like I was “for” anyone anyway. The only candidate who could have possible induced me into the voting booth was Ron Paul– that was tempting, and if he had actually won the nomination, I honestly can’t say if I would not have voted.

I went to bed without paying any attention to the polls, and still rigidly neutral, or so I thought. And then, I woke up at 2 AM with these words in my head. And couldn’t get back to sleep.

On the one hand, I feel like I shouldn’t say anything at all, and wonder where my detached neutrality went. On the other hand, I feel like something that has happened before is happening again, and it’s not a Good Thing. Is it fear? Maybe. Though I don’t know why I am afraid. I don’t like the direction the wind is blowing now, I can tell you that much, and I firmly believe that this world is getting its way.

I’m not mad at Obama, but I have a cold sinking feeling in my gut about America. Because this was America’s choice. And America’s voice thunderously proclaiming it’s will. And just as Israel demanded a King, so America has demanded its own way. And God always gives people what they want if they ask long and loudly enough.

I think the way America has chosen is dangerous to many people. Such as the unborn and even just born for one. And I think religious freedoms will soon be on the block. Honestly, I do. We are about to be micromanaged out of simple freedoms, and the ripples will cast wide. From food to small farms and businesses (of specific interest to me) to just how Americans treat one another. The vitriol and hate spewing on both sides will leave countless casualties.

I really think we are on the verge of some Very Bad Things. Persecution, hate crimes, loss of private property and privacy and other more apocalyptic type stuff. I don’t think it’s the end of the world by a long shot (though, you never know, it could be) but I do think it is the “beginning of the birth pains.”

Christians have been promised that in this world, we will have trouble. And so far, we’ve had it pretty cushy in these United States the better part of this last century. I fear that is coming to an end. Many people put a lot of faith and hope in the “constitutional democratic system” we’ve got going here. I’m afraid I do not have much faith in the document on which the founding fathers based this nation– no matter how much I like and respect it. It really wouldn’t take all that much to undo it completely– especially now when the checks and balances have been eroded for several decades and one party of the two party system now controls most of it. Just a little nudge can send the whole thing crumbling, and I think we are poised for that nudge. I think the nudge may even have already come in countless ballot boxes across the nation.

I’m not mad at the world. The world will do what the world does. But what the world does best is hate kill and maim, rape plunder and destroy. I guess I am just steeling myself for the storm that is coming. I am not at all a Tim LeHaye Left Behinder type person (I very strongly disagree with the eschatology of that camp.) But I do know that things will get worse before they get better and that history is cyclical.

We’re due for some nastiness.

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§ 30 Responses to Pondering…

  • tacky_tramp says:

    I think you’re wrong and I honestly don’t understand your fear. I am passionate about the first amendment — including the free exercise clause — and I would never support religious persecution. Perhaps we’re defining things differently. What specifically are you worried about?
    You are probably right that abortion will continue to be legal for a long time since the Democrats will get the courts for a while, but note that even in South Dakota, one of the most conservative states in the country, a majority of voters rejected an initiative that would have challenged Roe directly.

  • rm says:

    1. Abortion goes down when people have access to sex education and birth control. Abstinence-only policies (a product of Republican administrations) in the American school system has created a rise in teen pregnancy, and very possibly in abortion. Obama may be pro-choice, but there are likely to be fewer abortions in an Obama administration.
    2. For those that viewed hate as issue in this campaign, a vote for Obama was a vote against hate. I never heard people at Obama rallies threaten violence against McCain or Palin. I did hear people, specifically at Palin rallies, threaten violence against Obama on a nearly daily basis for several weeks. Newsweek reports that threats against the Obama family went up during this period of time.
    3. Sadly, many people did vote for hate in the form of anti-gay measures in several states. While some people may make noise about how we should agree to disagree, bigotry is not an issue I can agree to disagree on.

  • frodo_esque says:

    What a wonderful response.

  • celandineb says:

    I really think we are on the verge of some Very Bad Things. Persecution, hate crimes, loss of private property and privacy and other more apocalyptic type stuff.
    Why on earth would an Obama win lead to any of these things? For all the accusations of “socialism” thrown at him, he has never once indicated any wish to confiscate property, for instance. So it’s hard for me to see why you are so fearful about this.
    History is certainly cyclical in many ways, although not completely. From my perspective, what we have NOW may be the low point – there have been major attacks on privacy and on the constitution from the Bush administration. I see this election as a turning point upward.

  • DT says:

    Newsweek reports that threats against the Obama family went up during this period of time.

    This definitely scares the heck out of me. It is something I have been worried about since the last “attempt.” One thing I fear is that he may not make it out of office. I think it is a legitimate one.
    I’m still not sure why I had such a gut reaction– delayed as it was. After all, I was the one telling you it would be alright, no matter what!! And I believe that deep down. I think my major concerns are more.. nebulous and far reaching about the country in general. I actually started a write a letter to Obama this morning, congratulating him, and encouraging him to wisdom in his term(s) in office. It needs work. lol
    Honestly, my favorite image of this election was of Jesse Jackson with tears in his eyes. That is the one moment that truly choked me up, and impacted me with the import of what Obama has accomplished.

  • DT says:

    Honestly, I don’t even think it is so much about Obama– I think it is rumblings I am seeing from the country in general. I don’t know. It was a weird, if severe and visceral, reaction. I am more than willing to be wrong, and to see what will be.
    But I also think we see things very differently as well, and read the signs from different paradigms, which can lead to vastly different conclusions. I don’t know if it is so much a “right or wrong” thing as a difference in weight of importance that we each put on different facts and facets. What is important to me, may not be important to you, and vice versa, and so what will concern me, wouldn’t worry you, if you follow.

  • DT says:

    Also, I think I should add that Obama, representing the far left of the political spectrum, represent more and bigger government, which to me always spells fewer freedoms. The farthest left are the fascists, and I think that is a very possible direction of this administration. I am for as little governmental involvement as possible– I’m practically an anarchist, so yes, I do see that as being very threatening.
    I don’t want anyone telling me what I can or cannot eat, how I should raise, vaccinate or educate my children, how I attend to my own health care needs, or how to run my business, what to think, say or write, nor do I wish to be fearful of stepping on toes or being reported by the thought police. And I do believe this country could very easily fall into that trap, with or without Obama.

  • celandineb says:

    I do follow.
    As a point of curiosity, because I genuinely don’t understand this. You believe in end times, yes, even if you’re not into that whole Left Behind thing? Why do Christians get so worried about it, when supposedly it’s a good thing to have the end of the world and ultimate salvation and all that?

  • celandineb says:

    Obama so does not represent the far left of the spectrum! He is very very centrist – it’s one of the things I do not like about him, he is not nearly progressive enough.
    You live in a society. What you do does not just affect yourself and your immediate family. As an example, if your business does not adhere to appropriate sanitation standards, many people could potentially become ill and die. You expect the food you buy in the supermarket to be safe, right? Without laws about that and government supervision, I can assure you that it would NOT be safe – that was the way it was before those laws existed. So it’s only fair and reasonable that you be required to follow similar laws.

  • seejaye says:

    Re this “how to run my business” thing: The late William F. Buckley originally opposed civil rights legislation on the grounds that the gov’t had should not be telling a “Kentucky store-owner how to run their business” (quote is best from memory).
    Later, when asked about his greatest regret, Buckley touchingly admitted he was wrong on that. Again best from memory “I thought that people would evolve beyond racist attitudes on their own, but it turns out intervention on the Federal level was necessary.”
    Conservative George Will once praised some early-twentieth-century liberal policies, focusing on the fire safety codes prompted by the horrendous disaster of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in 1911.
    Also, back in the day, businesses wanted no part of the government telling them they couldn’t exploit children in coal-mines.
    I’m not saying or implying YOU would engage in any objectionable business-practices, what i am saying is there’s a vital role for government to curtail the worst excesses of this otherwise great system called Capitalism.
    as for the “what to think, say…” that strikes me as straw-man reasoning. But I have no more time now. just gotta content myself with a hit and run posting!

  • DT says:

    Fair question! It’s not the end I dread so much as what will lead up to it.
    No matter one’s eschatology within the Christian faith, or whatever other religions may subscribe to an end times scenario, it does get pretty nasty. I’m not too keen on persecution and torture. But I am 100% certain that it will happen, and even to me and my family. The Scriptures that I believe to be truth describe some horrific things happening, even to the Christians themselves, and I am not chomping at the bit to experience any of it. But I know it will come.
    It has happened before, it is happening elsewhere, and it will happen here. Give it time. Like I said, I feel like I am reading the signs of the times.
    Honestly Cel, I think of you more than anyone else when I blog. I ask myself, will you understand what I am trying to say, or how will you react? Not that I am writing to please you, ;-), but I definitely write out a heart of wanting to understand and be understood. I know that much of what I have to say gives offense, and while my goal is not to offend, it is to be truthful and to generate discussion and hopefully understanding.
    I believe that when persecution comes, it will be at the hands of people I currently count as friends, and I want to make sure that I have done everything I can to speak the truth in love and grace, without condemnation, so that it is perfectly clear that it is my message that is hated, not me. I want to make sure that if I am despised, it is because folks hate and cannot accept Jesus, not because I was a jerk. It’s no good to be disliked on my own merit. 🙂
    If you and I, who hold such disparately divergent views, can maintain communication, and even love for one another, I have that much more hope for my other and future relationships.

  • DT says:

    I suppose part of my problem is that I am an Idealist. And a Champion. I expect folks to be better than they are, and when they aren’t, I rush directly into the fray to fix it.
    Now, everything we expect of the government, I feel is the Church’s responsibility. Jesus has given a direct mandate to His followers to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, care for the widows and orphans, love one another and even lay down our lives for our enemy. This is true religion. At first, the Church did all of those things, but today, it is rare to find bodies of believers who actually follow our own mandate. But this is changing and a movement is growing.
    Just as I believe things are about to get nasty, I also believe the Church is starting to get back to the roots of our faith. I think the two are tied together, and one may prompt the other.

  • celandineb says:

    If you and I, who hold such disparately divergent views, can maintain communication, and even love for one another, I have that much more hope for my other and future relationships.
    *nods* Yes, I agree. I’m going to be very bluntly honest. I think you’re a very good person – and I also think you’re completely mistaken in certain respects, which I regret terribly. I respect your commitment to your beliefs even as I think they are based on the utter lies that you have been told. And, I imagine, you probably feel similarly – that I am woefully misguided and wrong in certain ways, but (I hope) you likewise feel that I’m a decent human being nonetheless. And the fact that we can discuss these things without needing to hurl a lot of invective is indeed a hopeful sign.

  • lijuun says:

    I do agree with you about a lot of what you said. I am a Ron Pauler, as well, and cast my vote for Chuck Baldwin (a little sad that Paul wasn’t still an option, since he was better). Frankly, if Obama sees fit to reverse the damage done by the Bush administration (the Patriot Act, Homeland Security, torture, domestic spying, foreign meddling, war for profit, the list goes on and on) I would love him more than anyone else. But I don’t think he will. I think he will leave our troops in Iraq, and distract us from that war by bombing Pakistan and probably Afghanistan. I think he will continue the torture and domestic spying and everything else that Bush did wrong.
    I hope I’m wrong, but I fear the same things you listed. Of course, I am fairly certain McCain would have seen those things done, as well. I don’t think we have a two party system. I think both parties are corrupt, and that we should have several smaller parties instead of just two. Things would be much better that way.
    I really think we are on the verge of some Very Bad Things. Persecution, hate crimes, loss of private property and privacy and other more apocalyptic type stuff.
    We are not on the verge of any of this. We’ve already been experiencing all this under the Bush administration and before. All of it. And I don’t expect that anything will CHANGE.
    But, like I said, I will love Obama more than anyone else if it does.

  • lijuun says:

    I agree with you on this. Call it anarchy, call it extreme libretarianism, whatever. People should take care of one another because it’s morally right, not because the government forces them to.
    The bureaucracy that controls all these laws, regulations, and redistributions always ends up costing more than what they are trying to accomplish.
    Here’s a thought: instead of the government telling business how much they can pollute the air and water, how about not polluting at all? Pollution is wrong, but we have government to tell us how much we have to put up with. That’s just one example of how government doesn’t work properly.

  • DT says:

    I respect your commitment to your beliefs even as I think they are based on the utter lies that you have been told.
    Yes, I pretty much feel exactly the same way about you. 🙂 Keep in mind that my faith is not one that was handed to me on a silver platter, nor is it something someone filled my head with at an early age and that I have blindly followed since. It is hard won, and comes through much study, many pitfalls and stumblings, and personal experiences and observations. But what I see as glaring proof and evidence, from a physical, historical and uncanny statistical POV, you would dismiss out of hand. Not only do you believe it to be lies, you want it to be lies, and so there will never be enough or the right kind of proof for you. Now, I am not mad at you for wishing all I know to be true to be lies; I see you as mistaken and misguided, even more so that you see me. After all, my truth won’t kill me from your POV, it just makes me utterly stupid, and worthy of a degree of contempt. On the other hand, I see your truth as very dangerous to you, and wish you could see the reality of the situation because of the horror it leads to.
    I believe that you have been and are being lied to by the very spiritual forces that you do not believe in. It makes it easier for them to lie to you if you don’t even know they are there or believe in their existence. But having had encounters with them myself, and having dealt with spiritual forces in my own life, I know they are there. I have seen proof of their existence. You haven’t seen that proof for yourself, or if you have, you have dismissed it as impossible and unbelievable anyway, and so you are exactly where they want you.
    I cannot give you proof, and you won’t believe the proof that I have received in my own life. The historical evidence and veracity that supports what I have come to accept as truth, you will not accept either. I did not always have the faith I do now. But I have examined both sides of the issue, and the side of God has won out. God has revealed Himself to me in such a wholly complete way, that I would be utterly foolish and stupid to deny what I know to be true.
    So, you are free to believe I am a duped idiot, a mindless sheep who only believes what I have been told, discrediting my ability to think, form opinions, and do my own research into the matter, and you may hold tightly and unbendingly to only what you can see and touch, without wanting there to be anything beyond that. But be honest with yourself as well. Because you claim to have the limit of knowledge in this area, whereas I accept that I do not, but continue to allow myself to grow and be shaped, and recognize that there is mystery in this life and universe, and that atheism and evolution do not answer those questions satisfactorily, and indeed create more troubling questions.
    It does not help your cause as a woman who wishes to assert her worth and have that recognized, for instance, to believe in atheism, which basically says you are nothing, from nothing and to nothing you will return. Jesus insists you have worth, and are precious, and as a human being you matter. Evolution does not teach this.
    So, even if my truth were to be a lie, it is a much prettier lie than yours. And so like Puddleglum, I will go on staunchly believing that there is an Overworld, and that Aslan reigns supreme there and everywhere.
    And I will continue to believe that you are a spiritual being, whether you recognize it or not, and that you are precious, and have worth, and matter far more than even you can know, and because of this, I will love you fervently and wholeheartedly and pray for you, whether you believe it does any good or not, and hope for you as well. You cannot conceive of how much I love you. 🙂 And I’ll tell you a secret and you can take it or leave it, but God loves you even more than that. Even if you don’t love Him back, or believe He even exists.

  • seejaye says:

    Except for the fact that since Nixon first signed The Clean Air act in 1970, pollution levels have dropped. Do you think that your admirable sentiment of not polluting at all is a substitute for some kind of proactive efforts, by the government if neccessary if the private sector is not up to the task?
    What if I paraphrased your last paragraph in the following ways, in reference to past periods of history:
    “Here’s a thought: instead of the government telling business not to discriminate based on race, how about not discriminating at all? Discrimination is wrong, but we have government to tell us how much we have to put up with. That’s just one example of how government doesn’t work properly.”
    or
    “Here’s a thought: instead of the government telling business how many underage workers they can employ in coal mines, and for how many hours per day they work them, how about not hiring child-labor at all? Exploitation of child labor is wrong, but we have government to tell us how much we have to put up with. That’s just one example of how government doesn’t work properly.”
    The fact is there is a vital role for government to provide sensible regulation where the private sector drops the ball, even if it’s beyond the scope of what the Founding Fathers intended. back in the 18th-century agrarian times in which they lived.

  • DT says:

    I agree that the government has a responsibility to protect its citizenry. But I think that oftentimes, they go overboard and end up restricting our freedoms in the process. I believe is ultimately a human failing. Power corrupts, after all.
    Laws are set in place to ostensibly to protect people, but eventually, they end up oppressing them. And so the people fight back, cast off the yoke, things go well for a while under their own civic sense, but eventually, power creeps in, things break down, regulations become established, more power leads to more exploitation, regulations gain a strangle hold, and the cycle begins again. It’s thousands of years old, and it will continue as long as humans are who they are, and remain as they are.
    I don’t have a worldly solution to the problem, because it is intrinsic to who we are. I just know I chafe at the fact of it, and feel the effects in my own life, where I am a conscientious, caring responsible human being, whom the government (locally) feels they have a right to dictate. It honestly bugs me that road blocks (many of them truly unnecessary) have been put in the way of opening my business. And i know many more will arise. It’s th “point” of bureaucracy.

  • lijuun says:

    Yes, but we’d have to then emphasize the private property laws. That way, a group of homeowners in a neighborhood could band together and sue a nearby factory for polluting the air that they breathe. That air flows over their private property and makes them sick. If private property laws were held in high esteem, those homeowners would have no problem winning the case.
    Those that attempt this under our current system are laughed out of court. They are told that the factory is allowed a certain amount of pollution and that they have to suck it up and deal with it. It’s happened every time someone has attempted it, be it for air pollution or water pollution or what have you.
    Can you see how pollution could be controlled if the people were given the power to sue over it?

  • DT says:

    Good points. I think what works best is when gov’t is de-centralized, and handled on a more local level. Smaller federal government, and let the States and local municipalities handle themselves. That way, we don’t have cookie cutter laws that make blanket generalities which hamstring one part of the population, and don’t even apply in others.
    If communities had the freedom to address their specific concerns as they arise, and govern themselves, our nation wouldn’t be nearly as broke as it is for one, and we wouldn’t be ascribing idiotic levels of authority/culpability to our President. For instance, Bush is being hated and reviled for many things which are singularly out of his control and jurisdiction. On the other hand, he has been given power in areas that do not belong (and these powers were handed over before he even took office, so he’s not exactly to blame for that anyway.)
    The Federal government (and the President) are being blamed– and accepting responsibility– for things that should be dealt with at the State and Local level. The more power the Feds get, the less power the states have, and the less power the average Joe (plumber or six-pack) will have.

  • demotu says:

    I’m sorry, you don’t know who I am, I f-of-flisted here. You are of course welcome to delete/ignore/whatever. You seem like a genuinely nice, thoughtful, if rather indoctrinated person, and I don’t want to storm your personal journal against your will.
    But dude. I doubt you realize this, but what your post absolutely screams is not that you’re afraid of losing your freedoms – you’re afraid of the Christian Majority losing it’s ability to suppress the freedoms of others. I have no idea what you’re actually afraid of. Not being able to force your religious views on others in the form of prayer in public schools? Gay marriage? Reproductive rights? Because for the first, your right to force your religion on others is the same as the rights of others to force their religious views on you – which you clearly don’t want – and for the latter, neither of those being legal forces you to do either. And abortion is already legal, so nothing can ”go downhill” from that.
    I’m in Canada, and I have always been entirely baffled at the views of the Chrisitian right in the States. I grew up in the church here, and I don’t know if its a country thing or a denomination thing, but good gracious, I can’t imagine any Christian I knew expressing these views.

  • DT says:

    LOL yeah, dude, you totally don’t know me. For instance, if you did know me, you might have read my thoughts on the “Religious Right.” Or perhaps the issue of gay marriage.
    If you did know me, you would know that even the folks who disagree with me the most on my journal, still like and respect me because I am respectful of them, and their opinions; and that I have expressed over and over again how wrong I believe it is for anyone to foist their beliefs on anyone else. So strongly do I hold this belief that I do not vote.
    I also try to refrain from judging others– especially those whom I do not know. 😉
    You are free to poke your nose in my journal anytime, and comment whenever you like; I welcome comments, criticism and open dialog. My issues with this past election seem to be of a personal nature which I am quickly working through. I thank you for your thoughts on the matter, and appreciate your input, but think the reasons fro my issues may be slightly different from what you have stated. 🙂

  • demotu says:

    I am much relieved to read those opinions, thank you for linking me. (And oh, you wrote the, ah, much talked about lj idol post on apathy. Actually, that puts a lot of this in perspective. My main reaction to that was I knew exactly where you came from but hoped you wouldn’t stay there – I didn’t follow up your comments, though. :))
    All that said, it makes me wonder even more where your thoughts that Obama is the beginning of the end of liberty in the States come from. I am really curious to know. Is it social? Economic? Racial tensions boiling up? I can’t fathom what it is, especially since Obama is, in policy, pretty centrist. (Even in the states, not comparatively to Canada.)
    I noticed you don’t vote, too, for religious reasons. I wonder, have you read the book The Irresistible Revolution? I don’t remember what his stance on voting was, but it seems to me it would be compatible with the not voting one. I gather in stems from the ”in the world but not of it” sentiment of Christianity? I do think voting is someone’s duty, though I can see where that comes from. I’m not sure if I think you can actually draw on scripture to tell you whether or not you should vote, since representative democracy was basically unheard of at the time, though I sort of see how you could extrapolate it. I suppose it depends on how much you still are ”of the world”. If you benefit from the government at all, I would still say it’s your duty to vote, since it still affects everything from the roads to taxes to schools to health care, all things which I (presume) you use. But it’s an interesting perspective that I’d like to hear more of.

  • DT says:

    Thanks for the reply!
    My issues with Obama… hmmm… I think the fact that many are calling him a centrist seems to be an error… or perhaps a misappropriation of terms. Those calling him a centrist seem to be even farther left than he, but it is said in the media here that his voting record is (one of) the most liberal in the Senate. I was also dismayed when he kicked some members of the press off of his plane recently because they had previously published contrary opinions of him, since that says to me that he does not welcome criticism, and I worry what that can mean down the road. I am also concerned about his stance on pre-term labor and partial birth abortions. His “spread the wealth” notions also bother me, and make me think trouble may be around the corner. I don’t like the Government in my pocket.
    Mainly, I am concerned about the Executive and Legislative Branches of government running amok without checks and balances. He is entering his term of office with a Presidency that has way more unilateral power than ever before in our nation’s history, and with a Congress that will give him almost carte blanche whatever he may ask for (and vice versa.) He will also have the opportunity to profoundly influence the Judicial branch, since three seats will be coming open during his term.
    That’s a LOT of power. It makes me nervous. I am concerned about a system which is already corrupt and broken being tipped over the edge. It could happen, no matter who is in office, or which party holds power, but it is always worse when only one party holds all the cards. Personally, I am for strong local government, and small federal government, and he definitely supports big federal government. I’m hoping for the best though, and praying for all my leaders, as is appropriate, and only right. Like I said, I’m not mad at Obama, nor do I hate him. 🙂
    You know, the race thing never even occurred to me. This may sound incredibly stupid, but on election day, when they kept talking about “this historic event” I truly didn’t know what they were talking about until someone mentioned “the first black president.” And then I was like, “Ooohhh… that’s right. He’s black, isn’t he?” lol
    Who wrote The Irresistible Revolution? I’ll check it out. I know my stance on voting as a Christian is an unusual one, and it is not one that I think every Christian should adhere too. I think it is a matter of conscience for me, and one of freedom– we are free to vote, I simply choose not to for matters of conscience. That being said, I do not think that my stance of Christians in government is one of conscience– I think it is addressed Scripturally, and seemed to be a universally held doctrine for at least 300 years after Christ, and was re-introduced through various Christian movements, like the Anabaptists.
    I do pay my taxes, and so forth, but also try to be as… self sufficient as possible, which I guess is why I prefer local to federal government. For instance, I’m all about small farms, local and raw foods, and I really see big government getting in the way of that. I don’t like The Man crimping my style, yo. Philosophically though, I figure I need to be content no matter where I find myself, or under what form of government I may live– no matter what, I must ultimately answer to God, and since I don’t see my role as being one to dictate to or overrule the governmental entities around me, I need to learn how to remain peaceful and content– no matter what.
    But I’m still human, and tend to grumble when the world gets in my way. 😉

  • demotu says:

    Thanks for the detailed reply – it definitely does narrow down your fears to a much more understandable level. 😉
    Sort of in reverse order:
    The Irresistible Revoultion is by Shane Claiborne, and is the most remarkable pieces of Christian writing I have ever read. In a time when I was leaving the faith, and working through that, it reminded me of everything that is good about Christianity. If you haven’t read it, I SERIOUSLY recommend it – I recommend it even to my atheist friends for a bright and beautiful view of what human beings are capable of.
    I understand the fears of checks and balances. That’s one of the things I actually like about the recent run of minority governments here – there are many things I dislike about them too – but it means that the government can never, ever do anything enormous that pisses off the people, because the opposition will call an election the next day. You, on the other hand, are locked into it for four years. That certainly could be scary. I think Obama is an actual decent man, a good man, so while he may do things people disagree with I doubt he will do anything horrific. But on that we’ll just have to wait and see.
    As for small vs. big government – frankly, in the US and Canada AND many other countries in the past 50 years, it has been the conservatives who blow up budgets and goverment power and interfere with individual freedoms – Bush certainly did that.
    To say Obama supports big federal government is, I think, a bit silly. None of Obama’s policies that I’ve heard or read are at all interested in expanding government power – he’s lowering taxes for most of the population, for example – except in areas where it’s drastically needed (reforming NCLB, for example? I doubt anyone can claim the US school system is in great shape for lack of government interference.)
    And maybe it will reassure you to know that we pay 10-15% higher taxes than you, have ”socialism” in things like health care (which is not a dirty word here!), and are by and large in less debt than Americans, are healthier, longer living, don’t live with threats of wiretaps for our ”homeland security”, etc. In fact, the majority of the Western world is far, far more to the left than the States, and the rest of us are doing okay! No ”end of days” here!
    ”Spreading the wealth around” is, in my mind, not only the right thing to do, it’s the Christian thing to do. (Cheap shot, I know, but isn’t it? Give up everything you own to the poor and come and follow me? I realize the argument against that is you should get to choose to give up your money, not have the government mandate it, but in that case making the phrase ”spreading the wealth around” is not really applicable.) I find the common American sentiment that the poor are poor because they are unlucky, or stupid, or deserving of it, very strange. Perhaps because there’s this idea that taxes just get handed back to the poor? The way it really works – welfare aside, and there are ways to improve the welfare system – is the goverment spreads the money around to services that support the entire population, from roads to medicine to schools to research grants. Spreading the wealth around means everyone benefits, IMO.
    The things that really interfere in what you talk about – say, putting up regulations that interefere with small, local farming (a really great thing, I agree!) are lobbyists and their iron-grip on Washington. (Another book you should read: the Omnivore’s dilemma? The chapter on local organic farming is delightful, and really highlights how the Agri department thwarts them.) Obama is pretty clearly, to me, interested in getting Washington out from under their grips – a very important thing if anything is going to improve in the States.
    Just a note on late-term abortions: Obama is very clear on his position there: he does not want them to happen, but does not want any legislation passing that does not take into account the health of the mother. And thank you, McCain, for air-quoting female health! Made me feel sooooo good.

  • DT says:

    I saw in your profile that you love coffee– it may please you to know that I am opening a coffee house specializing in organic Fair Trade beans and brews, and organic/natural products. We also will be using/selling raw milk! We should be open soon, and if you ever go through the Philly region of PA, you should stop in for a cup!
    Yes, I have The Omnivore’s Dilemma and am currently reading it. Well.. was till I mislaid it a week or so ago.. *facepalm* I also want to get the book Everything I Want to Do is Illegal.
    I guess it boils down to perspective, and levels of importance. As I said to another friend (in this same post– lol) what matters most to me may not matter so much to you, and vice versa. So something I may find alarming or threatening, may be the very thing you are hoping for, for different reasons. For instance, yeah, I don’t think spreading the wealth should be compulsory, but as Christians, I believe followers of Christ should have all things in common. I believe the Church should be the welfare state, not the government. I believe it is our role to feed the hungry, clothe the poor and care for the widowed and orphaned.
    I think ultimately, regardless of who is in office, I sense a change in the winds. A storm is coming, and what looks like “good” to the many, may spell disaster for the few. Or the many. Or everybody! The only thing in this life that is guaranteed is change, and not all change is good change. Like you said, we just have to wait and see how things pan out.
    I’d be interested to hear about how you left Christianity. Obviously, you admired something in what it could or should be, so what was it that ultimately drove you away and disappointed you?

  • demotu says:

    Well, the real reason I am not a Christian is I don’t believe Christ is the way to heaven, son of God, etc, nor in much of the Doctrine in the Bible on a fundamental and less-fundamental level. (I.e., original sin AND things like homosexuality) ^_^ There isn’t really anywhere else to go from there, even if some people try…
    The reason I left the Church is more complicated. I was raised in a delightful Presbyterian church. We’re not as liberal as, say the United Church of Canada, but we’re getting there. Slowly. I met many wonderful people there, had great experiences at a church camp I grew up at (possibly nothing like church camp in the states – we had, say, a out lesbian as the kids camp director one year). Much of my intellectual and emotional growth happened in the Church. I loved the spirit of it, the giving of it, the community of it – things that I am hard pressed to find in secular society.
    And yet. And yet. It took me about three years to leave properly, and I will still go back with my family, converse on religious topics (in a non-negative way) with friends, but I came to the conclusion that I was, in a way, living a lie, and sitting too comfortably in something I fundamentally disagreed with. It was disingenuous of me. Some things did drive me away – particularly attitudes about sex and sexuality that I find personally harmful and hurtful. (I’m bisexual, I think sex is awesome and a lot of the guilt around it, particularly for women, is terribly damaging to society. I think the Catholic church is positively criminal for its stance on condoms.) I couldn’t condone those views anymore.
    I still miss many things about it. It wasn’t an easy decision, even though the actual religious side of it is cut and dry for me. I will likely in the future look to ”churches” like the UU church for those spiritual and community needs in me that can’t be filled by secular society. But I am not a Christian, and pretending to be one was hurting me – and rude to those around me who were. I do still consider myself a spiritual person – scientist or no, there is more to this world that particles interacting, but I don’t feel the need anymore to turn to a doctrine I disagree with to fill those spaces in me.
    It’s definitely a journey, and not any static place I’m in! But I will say this – I am so much happier as a person for being where I am not, rather than where I was three or five or ten years ago. This was absolutely the right thing for me, however tricky it was to negotiate.
    Also: yay free trade coffee shops! There’s a marvelous local one in Ottawa that now has eight locations – free trade organic coffee, and I have a friend who works there and they are constantly working to improve the system and the livelihoods of those who grow the beans. Bridgehead, is the name. And it’s the best coffee and tea in town, too!
    PS. Thanks for being so willing to talk this through. I feel better for it!

  • DT says:

    PS. Thanks for being so willing to talk this through. I feel better for it!
    ME TOO! I may have to friend you now. 😉
    Thank you for being so honest about your spiritual journey. It is refreshing to see someone have intellectual integrity about their faith, and I appreciate that. I also appreciate the fact that you do not see your journey as being static, or at an end. We are all constantly growing and changing– even the most stalwart among us, and there is so much we don’t know– that we can’t know– and it is good to hear someone willing to express that about themselves. If you ever do wish to discuss these sorts of topics, I am always willing and open to listen, and even answer back, if you want me to. 😉
    I have some rather… radical views about the Christian faith, and tend to be a black sheep even among the “Religious Right” (of whom you can tell I am sooo fond. lol)I am simultaneously more strict, and yet (I hope) more gracious and loving than much of what I see today. I believe that is the example that Jesus gave us– to the hypocrites, He was severe, to the lost and hurting, He was gentle and kind. It’s His job to do the judging, not mine, so I am an equal opportunity friend. I may disagree with you, but it doesn’t mean I hold you in contempt or love you any less.
    Which reminds me– I loved what you said in your profile about hating the word tolerance. I feel the same way but for a slightly different reason. To me, tolerance means you really hate or despise the person, and see yourself as better than them, but you will “tolerate” their existence– until you get so pissed off your tolerance is at an end and you blast them off the face of the earth! To me, it is more important to have compassion, because then you are not elevating yourself above another person (for whatever reason) nor are you devaluing them. With compassion, we are equals, and I can lift you up.
    I keep meaning to blog on the topic, but never remember when I ‘m sitting down to type– and have time/can gather my thoughts. lol

  • demotu says:

    Friend away! I, uh, write a lot of smutty slash and talk about sex on and off, but if I can read this I’m sure you can read that. (Well, not actually read the smut, but you know. :P)
    The Irresistible Revolution was all about not being a hypocrite and truly, completely, following Christ’s example. To an extreme I doubt most people are capable of, but to see it exist at all was remarkable. I hate to harp on it, but you keep saying things that remind me of it. 🙂
    And exactly about tolerance. It’s a word that has been terribly appropriated, I think. It has so much sense of ”I’m putting up with you” rather than ”I love and respect you” that the word compassion does much more adequately capture.

  • DT says:

    lol, I’m not too worried about the smut, I have more than a fair share of flisters who are fanfic fiends and write an inordinate amount of slash, but it’s generally labeled and easy to navigate around it. 😉 Speaking of fanfic, I totally had a Harry Potter fanfic dream the other night. It was bizarre, because it wasn’t simply a dream about HP, I dreamt I was writing a fanfic, which the dream was about. Totally weird. I don’t even write HP fanfic. Or fanfic in general. I read a lot, but besides one Narnia WIP (which hasn’t been worked in, oh, 3 years?) and a little POTC drabble I did a couple weeks ago, I’m pretty passive on the fanfic front. Though I have been encouraged to pursue it more.
    I am so going to have to track down this book you are rec’ing. And one I would recommend to you is The Kingdom That Turned the World Upside Down. I read a lot of books about Historical Christianity– specifically the first two centuries (in case you hadn’t figured that out.) The Christianity of Scripture, and which was practiced in the first two centuries is completely different from almost anything you see today, and I think that is part of the reason so many feel burned by the church. Even someone who doesn’t believe what the Bible has to say, like yourself, can look at someone who calls themselves a Christian and recognize they don’t practice what it actually says. This bothers me so much. It’s not just hypocrisy, it’s blind hypocrisy, because generation after generation perpetuates the false traditions and heresies that came before without question. What I believe now is not the same as what I believed 15 years ago, and as I learn and grow, I am sure what I think now will be tweaked and modified (though I believe my essentials are pretty much solidified by now… )
    As you can see, it’s a topic about which I am quite passionate. 😉
    I’m going to have to sit down one day and write my tolerance rant. It’s pretty important.

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