Monday, November 5, 2012

Christ and Politics

Good Morning, everyone! I hope you are all registered to vote, and remember to visit the polling place on Tuesday.  I was not planning on writing a column endorsing Barack Obama over Mitt Romney, but this weekend someone said something that made my political leaning bubble over.

This election season has been a referendum on Roe V. Wade. Conservative candidates have distinguished themselves from each other by how thoroughly they would prevent abortions. Will there be exceptions in the case of rape, incest, or the life of the mother? Some candidates say, "No. I am principled, and ANY abortion is against my principle."

That might be a great strategy, politically. I don't know their constituents, and I don't know their supporters.

Here is what I do know: 

Todd Akin - Privileged White Neanderthal
A person who seeks an abortion is not happy about being pregnant. Their pregnancy might be unwanted because of the violence and trauma of being raped, or because they can not deliver a child while staying healthy themselves. Maybe they cannot financially support a child, or they do not have the support they would need to raise a child.

A person who seeks an abortion is suffering, and the cornerstone of suffering is isolation.

So when I hear a privileged, white, male neanderthal who has never known isolation talk shit about pregnant women, I change my vote.

This is not a Christian issue. The Gospels say that Jesus was isolated, suffered, and stood with the isolated and the suffering. Jesus healed  their physical ailment and their isolation. Jesus was not president of the rotary club, and his family was not well-connected. Frankly, the Gospels do not show a Jesus who taught us doctrine; Jesus DID things to relieve suffering.

To follow Jesus a Christian must feed the hungry, heal the suffering, or at the very least connect with the isolated. Christians must stand on the side of pregnant women.

This is a Government issue. You might say that it is not the government's role to relieve suffering, that relief in the form of healthcare, medicine, food, and education are better served by local communities of neighbors. As a white male with financial security, I am attracted to lower taxes and smaller government. But that doesn't mean I want to elect an ass.

Compassion is the benchmark of leadership. The President must be able to stand on the side of the suffering and isolated, even if it is a gesture without government support.  And I believe that Obama, the candidate who has experienced isolation, is a more compassionate leader than Romney, who has been privileged and included from birth, and who's platform is based on raw economics.

My version of American Exceptionalism is to hope that we, as a country, can take care of each other. I believe that we are better than Denmark, and they somehow manage to take care of everyone. What's more, I believe that America can stand next to people who suffer worldwide. I believe that our flag is a symbol of hope for people who feel alone, scared, and hungry. Some call that soft power: it would make us more powerful, would protect our interests, and reduce global conflict.

Romney works hard to look really smart, like he has the answers to our problems.  Experts disagree about the solutions to our various problems, and whoever is elected will have a panel of them to figure out the answers to these problems and new problems.

All the answers do not replace compassion. Please do not support someone who has nothing in common with you, and is not interested in your isolation and your suffering.

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