Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Going where I probably shouldn't...

I don't usually say much about politics here, but I'm feeling stifled by Anastasia's disabling of comments on this post (go read it), so I am going to say something. I have been an Obama supporter for the last few months, but it's been anything but a "religious conversion". First, let me say that I am very liberal and even the Democratic party as a whole is too conservative for me (except for maybe Dennis Kucinich). I am completely opposed to guns. I am an atheist and don't think that religion should play any role in politics or government whatsoever. I am opposed to capital punishment. I am in favor of same-sex marriage. I am pro-choice.  And the list goes on. I know my views are way outside of the American mainstream. I realize that no Democrat (or Green or whoever) could ever win public office in this country with those views (except in a few liberal havens), so I have no illusions that we'll ever have a president that I am completely aligned with. That said, I am more concerned with having someone other than a Republican in the White House next year, so I am not willing to vote for Ralph Nader while I am living in a swing state (even though I generally agree with him, too).

I guess what I wanted to say is that I am not bothered by Obama's religious rhetoric because I know that any politician with aspirations for being president has to go down that road. It bothers me to no end that this is the case, but I realize that this country is predominantly Christian and people want their president to share their religious views. I'm not saying that I am right or I have the answers, but just that it seems to me that a lot of things have gone wrong during Bush's two terms and anyone who can take us in another direction in terms of foreign policy, domestic spending, etc. would be a huge improvement. I turned away from Hillary Clinton when it seemed like her campaign went in a negative direction. I'm sure she would have been a good president, but I like that Obama has not been in Washington as long as she as. 

That's my two cents. I'm just one vote. I know plenty of people disagree with me and that's fine. Can't we all just get along???

ETA: Here's another take on Obama's candidacy.


Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I have a couple of thoughts on the combination of religion and politics...

1) Why must it be the case that a politician with religious beliefs suppress them in order to be a politician? The fact of the matter is that any rational politician (yea, if there are any) cannot actually do that -- and to ask them to do so is silly. Second, why is it the case that a religious person and a non-religious person can't come to the same decision on policy, but from completely distinct directions... This is the thesis of Robert Audi's book "Religion in the Public Square" -- which we read for his class at UNL...

2) I don't see Obama's statements as religious at all -- perhaps I'm ignorant enough about religion so as not to see his rhetoric as religious, but it seems to me to be simply good rhetoric.

As someone who was at the Obama concert last night -- it was much more like a rock concert than a religious service -- the energy was amazing... the crowd was young, diverse and really loud -- in a country with pathetic rates of interest and participation by the young, why is it that someone who inspires that kind of energy must be suspicious?

Addy N. said...

ITPF: I don't know that politicians should "suppress" their religious beliefs, but I don't see why explicit discussions of faith and religion should occur in politics to the extent that they do. I like your statement about religious and non-religious people agreeing on policy- I don't think that should be a problem and hope that occurs already. I just feel that politics and government should be secular (the whole "separation of church and state" idea). Maybe because of my own views, I am more sensitive about it. I don't even like statements like "God Bless America"- what about the rest of the world?? Why should God be part of the conversation?? Like you, I don't find Obama's statements particularly religious, but I was responding to Anastasia's comments to that effect. btw- that's very cool that you were at the rally!

Seeking Solace said...

First, let me say that I was bummed that the comments were disabled.

Second, cheers to you for speaking your mind. I have thought about saying something, but I don't want to deal with the backlash that may occur. People should be able to discuss important issues like this in a civilized manner and without fear. I like to think that even though most people don't agree with me or I with them, that we can come to a mutual respect and understanding.

I am an independent, which basically means I sit on the fence. I am a liberal on social issues but a moderate on fiscal concerns. I am not completely sold on Obama, not becuase of the religion thing, I'm an agnostic and could care less, I just have some concern about domestic policy. I already know what Hillary will do or not do becuase of her ties to my state. And I think McCain wants to be a moderate but still wants to cozy up with the whack jobs in his party.

I think ITPF makes a good point. Who cares what one's religious or lack of religious background is if that person can bring good ideas to the table.

OK, I shut up now.

Anastasia said...

I disabled comments because last time I posted something about Obama I got two really nasty comments from registered users--so disabling anonymous comments wouldn't help--who were not regular readers. It wasn't directed at you or anyone else who reads and comments regularly. It was the random surfers googling "I don't like Obama" looking for somebody to school. In other words, trolls. I can't deal with that right now.

I am glad that you posted something in reply, though, and I figured regular readers might do that. It is worth discussing.

I agree with a lot of what you say. I don't like that anybody has to go down this road but they really do have to address religion in some way or other. By which I mean Christianity.

I don't like the way Obama has done it but by the same token, I so do not love God bless america and the whole axis of evil thing.

I'm not at all concerned about Obama's religious background. I'm concerned about the rhetoric he's using and the affect it has on some people. I'll grant not all of his supporters go so far with it but some of them do. And the rhetoric is highly religious.

Not all of it comes from Obama's lips but even at that, some of it does. It isn't all he talks about but it is there.

Don't get me wrong, I think a person could make a similar case for Bush's construction of the conflict in Iraq and that bothers me, too.

Anastasia said...

effect! not affect. gar.

JustMe said...

addy, i agree with you in many respects. neither obama or clinton are liberal enough for me either. i was on the fence for a long time, basically because their positions on most things are very similar. i would love a woman pres. i would love a person of color pres. i find it amazing that this contest turned out with clinton and obama. one of my problems with clinton from the beginning was the whole dynasty thing. but as the campaign progressed, what really annoyed me was her race baiting tactics and the way her campaign was run. also, clinton's ties to the old boys gov establishment.

about the religious thing, i guess i am also too dumb about religious rhetoric as well. i do recognize that some people have taken to obama in a fervored, one might say religious, manner, but i see that sort of blind devotion to candidates on all sides, to all types of ideologies.

again, i haven't examined his rhetoric, but i don't see it as a particularly obama thing. perhaps it seems like more now because obama is such a different type of candidate. while clinton was seen from the get go as the inevitable candidate with all the money, the idea that a POC could be a viable challenge, gives some people a lot of hope and that could also be a factor contributing to people clinging to him as though to a religious figure. also, he challenged the rules -- ie with how to raise money and support -- mostly determined by republicans to which democrats have just tried to play along with and not really challenging them. now obama hasn't broken with everything, he has taken minor steps, but i see them as steps in the right direction.

rachel said...

seems like you should move to canada, where having all of those beliefs makes you mainstream, as opposed to 'very liberal'(and where the univesrity teaching term runs from after labour day to the beginning of April).