Luke, in the comments on my last post, mentioned that he was hoping for a conversion experience for me. Not a religious experience but a McCain to Obama experience. For various reasons which I will explain below, that experience has been had. I want to graciously thank everyone who commented and looked at my blog. The de-conversion people I know looked at my post on McCain in large numbers, at least large numbers for my blog. Many people from Wheatland also checked me out. There were even people whom I don’t know how they found me check me out. Some even set up links to my post. I am humbled and honored by the attention. Thanks so much for both agreeing with me and arguing against me, most of it done in a very tolerant and knowledge-gaining and sharing type spirit.
I have to be honest. I was not completely forthcoming in my previous post. Maybe there are hints of it there, but I don’t think it is blatant. I have wanted to vote for Obama from the very beginning of this race. But there have been blocks up in my thinking that I could tell were there but was not certain where they were or how to get around them. In a way, it seems that this has been one of the final barracades (at least of which I know) in my general life conversion of the last 24 months. That conversion has been spiritual, professional, physical, relational. The way I view my life and my spirituality has changed tremendously. My story is now different. And in trying to apply that new story to this election, I found that I did not have the tools I needed to think differently about it. Combing the media did not seem to help much as what one gets there is just partisan politics for the most part. So I decided to draw information from a different source. That source is you. I figured that by honestly putting my thoughts and fears out there, I would get back honest opinions from you. And I have. And that information has come together with a couple of other things this weekend to help me make the choice that I sensed all along to be choice I wanted to make. I am changing my vote to Obama.
Things I have taken a second look at in changing my decision….
Colin Powell. I believe he is a smart man who wants the common good. Talking with a couple of people whom I consider to have somewhat of a mentor position in my life, they believe that the whole sending him to the UN to point out evidence of missile tubes (or whatever it was) was a set-up by the current administration without Powell’s knowledge to legitimize a war that they knew to be about oil for Cheney and about avenging his father for Bush. Considering Powell’s soon thereafter resignation as Secretary of State, I think this is a reasonable reading of the evidence. Powell has called Obama a “transformational figure.” Now I either have to continue to believe that Powell knows what he is talking about with his knowledge of the military and the world stage, or I have to dismiss him as vindictive with no interest in the common good. Since I don’t believe the latter, I am left with the first. More on his treatment by the right in a bit.
Alan Greenspan. Mr. Greenspan’s tearful admission this week before Congress was not, I believe, contrived. He has been considered very wise on the economy for more decades. Why now would I start to disbelieve what he has said this week? And what motive would he have to admit his faultly reasoning? I don’t believe his is falling on the sword for Obama. So he either is a very good deceiver and lies through his teeth, or his statement was genuine. I choose to believe him which means at least in part that the economic philosophy of this administration is faulty. More on his treatment by the right in a bit.
My wife’s aunt and a mentor. I had the opportunity in the last 24 hours to spend a great deal of time talking with someone whom I have grown to have great respect for in the last 2 years. He has already voted for Obama. He, like Powell, believes that Obama is a transformational figure who has a solid grasp of the issues the US faces and a solid plan to go after those issues. My wife’s aunt is also very much in support of Obama. These two people are both individuals for whom I have a large amount of respect. And they both said almost the identical items in support of Obama. They also both feel that the current administration has largely been a failure with mismanagement and personal agendas reigning supreme. I can see their points, and it is a reasonable reading of the evidence. Both believe that McCain will largely carry on the same Republican agenda with failing trickle down economics that gives power to the rich and basically eliminates a middle class as the rich get rich and the poor get poorer. And both feel that Palin being able to take on the role as President should a 72 year old McCain not be able to complete the job would be a tragedy. And my mentor figure believes that the pick of Sarah Palin was basically forced on McCain by the religious right, which the Republican party has aligned with and uses to get elected, by individuals such a James Dobson. Interesting that I myself remember Dobson stating that McCain was too far left during the primaries but enthusiastically supportive on the day Palin was announced.
The right crying “traitor.” In the days after Colin Powell and Alan Greenspan made their statements, the only thing I heard from the right was “traitor.” Is that the only thing they can come up with to say against these two? Do they really think that what is most important is for Powell and Greenspan to be loyal to a party rather than to say what they think is best for the common good? I think these two guys stuck their necks out to say and do what they think is just. And all the right has to say is that they should have just kept quiet and towed the party line. That is ridiculous
Rob Bell, Jesus Wants To Save The Christians. I really like Rob Bell. When I say that my theology is changed over the last years, I would say that Rob Bell in his books largely describes what I have come to believe and the way I think about God. He doesn’t deal with the evidence from nature for God side of things which is also very important to me, but he describes well what I believe about God. This newest book is basically about a newer way to read the bible called the New Exodus perspective. I like it. And in the first few pages he describes Empire, also something NT Wright speaks to, and connects that to how the US currently views its responsibility to the world. In his words on page 18, “So when the commander in chief of the most powerful armed forces humanity has ever seen quotes the prophet Isaiah from the Bible in celebration of military victory, we must ask, Is this what Isaiah had in mind?” He goes on, “A Christian should get very nervous when the flag and the Bible start holding hands. This is not a romance we want to encourage.” That rings very true to me. The US is not God’s gift to world, but we have sure acted like that. It is time to quit being so arrogant and become a partner in the world, not a bully. Obama’s military and foreign policy is more aligned with that approach to the world. McCain will still be the bully.
I have also reconsidered what I have said about socialism. Some have criticized me for calling Obama a “socialist.” I have not done that. I have said that his policies were socialistic and that they advanced socialism in the US to a new level. I apologize to anyone who thought I was personally attacking Mr. Obama as that was not my intent. I think he is sincere in his beliefs about what he thinks will work, and I admire that about him. I don’t have to agree with every single idea he puts forth however in order to admire him. And advancing socialism still makes me a bit nervous. But I can see how trickle down policies are actually damaging to the middle class, and in order for our economy to survive there has to be a middle class that will buy things. Additionally, most of what you all have said about taxation already being wealth redistribution is correct. I had not ever thought of it in that way, and I believe that it rings true. The socialistic side of Obama still makes me a bit nervous, but I don’t think what he proposes will be damaging and the motive behind it seems to be consideration for the little guy, the poor, the weak.
I think that explains my reasons and reasoning, and I imagine that I have now accomplished making a whole new group of people angry with me. Hopefully, I have made some new friends though too. I feel really good about finding solid reasons to do what I have wanted to do from the very beginning but was having trouble getting past my default position that has always been conservative. Comment away…..