Saturday, October 30, 2004

michael moore, just be glad you're not an evangelical

I love this country so much I want to throw up. And I’m tired of wanting to throw up. But I think I'm going to feel like this for four more years, and maybe longer, until this country gives me a presidential candidate worth voting for.

Today, being Friday, I don’t feel much like casting a vote. I can’t picture myself actually voting. This ugly scenario played out in 2000, when I failed to send in my absentee ballot while at school. Bush/Gore was just a colossal waste of money, time, and manpower. A two-headed beast beholden to corporate interests and the Washington elite, both of which seemed so sickeningly centrist at the time that it seemed like we were voting for a Clinton the II, only with higher personal morals.

Oops. I was wrong. But in the here and now, even though I know reams and cartons more than I did last Nov 2 after the Summer Games, it still doesn't’t make it any easier to vote. I just want to puke -- again and again and again. And then hope it’s January, and I’ll have missed the whole thing.

The thing about casting a vote is that no “average joe” really knows the candidates. All we can do is trust the judgment of their rich, white friends, the intuition of the journalistic elite, and the spin from their campaign staff of political whores. What a great trifecta. We have this glossy, sometimes scarred image, crafted and re-crafted by (or through) the media. We have videos and editorials and “non-partisan” action groups. Teachers unions and General Electric. Ted Nugent and Ashton Kutcher. These are the sorts of people, places and things that inform our decision to vote. God help us all.

And there He is (God, not Ashton Kutcher, though I do tend to capitalize pronouns when referring to either one of them). I had a pastor friend come by last week who told me, “In the end, it’s up to God; though I truly believe that if Kerry is elected, it'll be God’s way of judging this country.”

Bullshit. This country is already being judged. We've been judged for every election since we adopted political parties. Our electoral college, our Congress, our judicial system and our Constitution were never built for it.

Crazy thing about being a free will theist, I have the unorthodox (read:heretical) belief that we decide our elections, and not God. Much like we chose to follow Christ. Imbued with grace that goes before us, granted by the Holy Spirit to Christians and non-Christians alike, we make a decision to seek after the one, true God through his mediator Jesus Christ (or to forgo that search) -- and we choose who we want for president, as a nation, because (last time I checked), we were a democratic republic, and not a theocracy. God does not elect our leaders any more than he elects who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. It’s our choice, to screw up or choose righteousness. Only problem is, we ain't got no righteous candidates to choose from.

(And, to correct other problems with that deterministic way of thinking -- say Kerry was elected. That would mean it was God’s will. But that wouldn't ipso facto mean that he was put there by God to punish America. Because God works in mysterious ways, perhaps he would have over-riding purposes in a plan to elect Kerry, ones we wouldn't’t know for centuries to come, but in eschatological hindsight, would hit ourselves over the head, crying “Of course!” In fact, no matter who is declared winner Nov 2 (fingers crossed), we should have the same enthusiasm in church that very next Sunday, rejoicing in the fact that God’s will cannot be thwarted; that God’s guy is where he is supposed to be; and that God will make everything clear in his time. If my Calvinist pastor friend is not dancing in the streets after a Kerry victory, well I might just have to conclude that my pastor friend isn’t much of a Calvinist.)

My parents are voting for Bush. Their entire argument rests on the fact that Bush is pro-life. (Never mind the fact that abortion rates have risen since Bush took office.) But I refuse to vote for a candidate based on one, singular issue. It’s tantamount to choosing a faith or religion based on who has the most followers -- not an inherently bad one, but still not the greatest way to pick a faith. I can’t get past the fact that Bush has abused "Just War" doctrine to lead us into Iraq. Or that Kerry can’t seem to nail down where he stands on said war, as he tries to appease pacifists and war-mongers alike. Or that Bush has all but left his Compassionate Conservatism in the dust of his over-whelmingly top-heavy tax cuts. Or that Kerry is ethically peachy-keen about aborting unwanted fetuses (even against his personal convictions), or embryonic stem-cell research that could have the potential to kill millions of future Americans in order to make life better for those that had the privilege of being born. Or that Bush has appointed many of his cash-happy drinking buddies from his first election run to ambassadorships around the globe, staffed his administration with corporate cronies in the departments of Labor, Energy and the EPA, and surrounded himself with incompetent foppish neocons who merely pay lip-service to the religious right. (phew!)

I hate these morons because they aren’t fit to call themselves disciples of Jesus. And there’s the rub. They’re not running for "Christian of the Year," they’re running for president.

And I have to vote for one of them. Because I can’t sit out again. The Holy Spirit won’t let me. But dammit, he won’t won’t tell me who to vote for neither. So I go at it alone in a sense. We all do. Knowing that we’ve got to live with our mistake, whether his name is Bush or Kerry. And then, just get on with our lives.

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