Posts Tagged ‘Presidential Election’

The People Have Spoken

November 5, 2008

obama

It’s 2 am here, the polls closed hours ago, but I suspect the partying will go on long into the night for many people.  I picture President Elect Barack Obama sitting in a quiet corner while all the frenzy goes on around him.  He’s calm, reflective and has a slight smile on his face, letting this all soak in.  He is pondering the past and takes a deep breath as he realizes the huge and awesome weight of responsibility that has suddenly settled onto his shoulders.  Inside, I hope he’s jumping up and down and shouting “Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy”, or at least something a little more emotional than his calm, beneficent demeanor has ever shown.   No matter how you voted, you just can’t help but appreciate what this means personally and historically, both for him and this country.

At every Orthodox Divine Liturgy we ask God to grant mercy and hear our petitions for many earthly concerns, including our government.  In the historically monarchial countries where Orthodoxy was formed, these petitions were for the protection of emperors, kings, and czars.  In America, we ask for the same blessing on our president and all elected officials.

“Again we pray for the President of this country, for all civil authorities…”

In response the people affirm the petition by singing “Lord have mercy”.   Now I’ll be honest – my response to this petition for the last eight years has usually been with the tonal emphasis and rolling of eyes that only one from the South can give to that phrase.  I asked a priest once about what it means to pray this petition for a president that you do not support.   He advised me it doesn’t mean you have to sincerely like the person in office or believe in their policies,  but you do have to pray that he or she will make wise decisions.  So for the past eight years it’s been very easy to pray for our president to make good choices in the same way I ask my kids to eat healthy and play nice.  (‘Dubya’ doesn’t seem to listen any better than my 6 year old though.)  I will certainly not be agreeing with President Obama on everything he does, in particular abortion and other socially conservative life issues, but I can say wholeheartedly that if ever a president needed our prayers Obama will have mine.   

At this point I feel I can disclose how I voted, and why my support of Barack Obama has been so divided.  This year has tested everything I thought I believed in about politics and my political positions.   For one, I have found myself acknowledging that I am more of a Crunchy Con than I thought.  But, I have never supported W and his cronies (is detest too strong a word?).  I believe in the depth of my soul the Iraq War is wrong and I believe Bush will leave office in 2 months still retaining the blind arrogance and self-delusion that he has been right about everything.  And yet, I have had reservations about Obama’s experience and age (at least I did until McCain the Bush Clone chose Sarah Palin).  I have no doubts now after seeing his obvious talent for rallying support and inspiring people to believe in something.   But rather my biggest remaining stumbling block has been his position on abortion and life issues.    So as I stood in that electronic voting booth on Halloween, I just didn’t know what to do.  I filled in all my choices but left the presidential box unchecked.  That red light kept flashing, ‘Vote, Vote, Vote…’  and all the months of indecision came down to one push of the button – vote conscience or vote politics.   I said a prayer and quickly pressed the button before I could change my mind, and just like that I had not cast a vote for either candidate. 

A wasted vote some would say.  But this time I felt I had to follow my conscience on the issue of abortion.  Did I have such an ethical urge four years or eight years ago?  No.  I’d like to think it’s because I have become more conscientious as a voter and as an Orthodox Christian.  Was it fear of the unknown and closet bigotry?   I pray to God it wasn’t.  But passing on the vote wasn’t something I’d considered before I read Rod Dreher’s views on the subject and realized it is an option, not a cop out.   There’s no political analyst out there who’s suddenly panicked because TinaG in Texas chose not to choose.  But God knows.   I just wonder if my principals would have been so cherished in a tightly contested race.  In Texas my choice to not vote had less consequence than in some battleground states, so thank you Lord for not testing me that much!

Let us all pray that the next four years will be a blessing on this country.  Let us pray for our new President and the many difficult decisions and burdens that come with this office.  Let us pray for peace and security and the safe return home of our troops.  And let us pray that our new President’s heart and mind will be enlightened towards the unborn and the evilness of abortion.   Lord have mercy.

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If Children Could Vote

October 22, 2008

 My 8 year old expressed his preference for President very clearly yesterday when he brought home the social studies project below.  He’s got his mind made up, but I suspect he thinks Sen. Obama is just way cooler than some old guy (and maybe ’cause he’s been listening to my husband bash “scumbag Republicans”).  It was a good opportunity to remind him there is still one issue Orthodox Christians cannot and never will agree with Obama about – abortion. 

A tough topic to discuss with a child, but I’ve tried to teach him in a basic way what elective abortion is, why it’s wrong and what the Orthodox Church believes and teaches – simply that unborn babies are children of God from the moment of conception and we don’t kill God’s children.   He tried to give me some “but”, “but” arguments about how Sen. Obama isn’t going to actually be doing that to anyone, what ever that means in an 8 year old’s point of view (which actually sounds a lot like the reasoning some democrats use too).  I had to leave it at “abortion, is murder and it’s wrong for someone, even Sen. Obama, to believe it’s ok”. 

Abortion is the big stumbling block for conservative, pro-life Democrats.  Whether Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholics, Protestants or any pro-life faith group, every four years we’re left in this quandary about our faith, values, and what it means to vote in an election that doesn’t give us any options.  Do you vote for the lesser of two evils?  Do you vote for what is to your mind a candidate who is an out-of-touch war monger but is pro-life?  Or do you vote for the candidate who seems to be saying some of the things that resonate with you except for this one big issue that he may or may not really get a chance to mess with much before his term(s) is up?   In the case of my home state, Texas, I don’t think whichever candidate I vote for is going to make any difference to the state outcome.  Do I vote then on a single issue for a candidate I doubt I’d support on anything else he’d ever do during his entire presidency?  

Aaargh – I hate election years.