Archive for October 20th, 2004

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what I think about the election

October 20, 2004

This is for Tim.

Okay, well this is a complicated thing to figure out, or at least express with any amount of eloquence. In many ways I am very much in opposition to Bush, yet I also not a huge fan of Kerry. However for me the key issues are the war in Iraq, drilling in Alaska, abortion. There are a lot of other issues I care about, but I don’t always know how the candidates stand on those. So judging just by those three, I will be voting for Kerry. But what I find more scary that anything else is the article about Bush that I provided a link too in my last post. Bush is not as stupid as he sometimes appears, he is a lot smarter and determined than I think most liberal critics give him credit for. The following quote really made me think:

“You think he’s an idiot, don’t you?” I said, no, I didn’t. “No, you do, all of you do, up and down the West Coast, the East Coast, a few blocks in southern Manhattan called Wall Street. Let me clue you in. We don’t care. You see, you’re outnumbered 2 to 1 by folks in the big, wide middle of America, busy working people who don’t read The New York Times or Washington Post or The L.A. Times. And you know what they like? They like the way he walks and the way he points, the way he exudes confidence. They have faith in him. And when you attack him for his malaprops, his jumbled syntax, it’s good for us. Because you know what those folks don’t like? They don’t like you!”

Wow! I find that a very fascinating concept, because in someways liberals have played right into Bush’s hands. By reacting to harshly to his slip-ups and mispronunciations, we further widened the gap between Bush supporters and his opposition. In the end I think it is that gap that saddens me the most. No matter who wins this election, the president will be hated by close to half his country, how are we going to get any real work done, or do anything to improve this country in an environment like that?

While I agreed with much the article or at least found it very interesting, I was bothered by its portrayal of faith. For me, faith is so very different than that expressed by the President, I think the quote of Jim Wallis, used to end the article really expresses that difference:

“Faith can cut in so many ways,” he said. “If you’re penitent and not triumphal, it can move us to repentance and accountability and help us reach for something higher than ourselves. That can be a powerful thing, a thing that moves us beyond politics as usual, like Martin Luther King did. But when it’s designed to certify our righteousness — that can be a dangerous thing. Then it pushes self-criticism aside. There’s no reflection.
“Where people often get lost is on this very point,” he said after a moment of thought. “Real faith, you see, leads us to deeper reflection and not — not ever — to the thing we as humans so very much want.”
And what is that?
“Easy certainty.”

In summary, that is what I fear the most about living under another four years of Bush as a President, his absolute certainty in the rightness of his actions and rejection of the useful tools of critique and doubt.